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Abu Dhabi considers extending Sweihan solar project after record low bid

Abu Dhabi considers extending Sweihan solar project after record low bid

Bidding for the Sweihan solar project is said to have beaten a record set in Chile last month

A record low bid from a consortium has reportedly led Abu Dhabi to consider extending its Sweihan solar project to well over 1 gigawatts.

The National reports that Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority received six bids for the 350MW solar photovoltaic plant with one of 2.54 US cents per kilowatt hour beating record lows reached in Chile last month by 12 per cent.

However, a further offer from an Asian-led consortium offering to expand the plant to 1,170 MW at 2.30 cents per kilowatt has also caught the authority’s attention, sources told the publication.

These proposals are now being evaluated before the project is awarded.

The UAE previously achieved record low solar project bids when Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power partnered with Spain’s TSK to win the 200MW phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai at 5.84 cents per megawatt

At the time normal rates were 8 to 9 cents per megawatt.

Read: Saudi’s ACWA Power Gets $344m Loan For Dubai Solar Project

This was then beaten in June when bids as low as 2.99 cents were received for the 800MW third phase, eventually won by Abu Dhabi’s Masdar.

Read: Dubai’s DEWA awards deal for 800MW solar park to Masdar-led group

Expectation that this rate would be beaten for Abu Dhabi’s Sweihan saw only 34 companies becoming pre-qualified from the 90 that expressed interest.

Later withdrawals from firms including TSK, ACWA, Italy’s Enel and Abdul Latif Jameel saw this reduce to just seven over the summer, according to The National, before France’s Engie withdrew.

Paddy Padmanathan, the chief executive of ACWA, was quoted as saying rates “haven’t reached the bottom yet, but we’re close”.

He said that the low interest rate environment had helped companies cut bid offers, but innovation and cost efficiencies were also playing a role.

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