Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) has signed a SAR 1bn ($267mn) contract with General Electric (GE) to buy gas turbines for Saudi Arabia’s first integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) power plant. The 600MW project near the Red Sea port of Dhuba in the Tabuk region will produce 550MW of power from gas and 50MW from solar.
The project is expected to cost a total of SAR 2.5bn and is due to be fully operational before the end of 2017, SEC said. According to local media reports, chief executive Ziyad al-Shiha said a new SAR 4.5bn high voltage direct current facility in Tabuk would be commissioned in 2018 to boost electricity transmission in the country’s western region.
It will also bring plans to export power to Egypt, Turkey and beyond to Europe, closer to reality. The solar component of the project makes this the largest renewable energy facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Electric has yet to confirm the deal and it is not clear what type of turbines the project will use. However, Steve Bolze, CEO of the company’s power and water division, alluded to the deal in a recent exclusive interview with Utilities Middle East.