Dubai set for 'aggressive pricing' on first CSP tower plant
17 May 2017

Dubai’s 200 MW CSP tender framework offers potential cost savings from engineering through to operations and new entrants from China could help lower prices, Inaki Perez, Solar Team Leader at Mott MacDonald, DEWA’s Technical Advisor, said at the MENA New Energy 2017 conference.


In July, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will select the winner of the United Arab Emirates’ first CSP tower tender. DEWA invited bids for a 200 MW tower plant with a minimum eight hours’ storage and the plant is expected online by 2021.


The tender represents the fourth development phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park which will host 1 GW of solar capacity by 2020. By 2030, the Park will host 5 GW of solar power capacity, including 1 GW of CSP capacity, helping Dubai reach its target of 25% of energy from renewable sources.


DEWA received 30 Expressions of Interest for the CSP project, represented by 34 regional and global companies. Six consortia have been shortlisted for the Request for Proposal (RfP) phase and their bids are expected by June.


The six shortlisted parties are “credible and reputable” bidders and include all the main global CSP development firms, Perez told the conference in Dubai on April 26.


The bidding should see “aggressive pricing”, due to a strong tender framework, the high-profile of the project within the CSP industry and the current limited number of global CSP tenders, he said.


Dubai has targeted a cost of $80/MWh for the 200 MW CSP tower project but technology and efficiency gains in other countries have shown lower costs are possible. Dubai’s record-low PV price of $29.9/MWh for the 800 MW MBR phase 2 project has demonstrated the potential for cost optimization under the MBR program.


The track record requirements in the CSP tender are not as stringent as in some other previous global tenders and this will allow a good balance between experienced CSP developers and newcomers to the industry, particularly those from China, Perez said.