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Saudi may involve private firms in building power plants

One of the Saudi
Arabian Electricity
Company’s transmission
Khobar, Saudi Arabia — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 December 2010 – The Saudi Arabian Electricity Company (SEC) may involve private companies in building more power plants to feed the country’s major electricity consumers such as state oil giant Saudi Aramco, and is planning a major increase in capacity.

State-controlled SEC plans to invest US$80 billion (R544 billion) to boost capacity to at least 70 000MW by 2020, from a current installed capacity of 50 000MW, to meet domestic demand which is rising at 8% annually.

“The private sector would contribute through independent power producers (IPPs) investing US$24 billion (R163 billion) of the total $80 billion (R544 billion),” said Saudi minister of water and power Abdullah al-Hussayen.

“SEC plans to build six IPPs to add 10 000 MW by 2017 with investments of US$12 billion (R81.6 billion),” SEC CEO Ali Saleh al-Barrak told Reuters here on the sidelines of a company event.

“This is what we have today in our plan. We are revising it every two years and probably we may add some more power plants,” Barrak said.

He added that SEC was looking to serve big consumers who would need extra capacity by bringing in private investors to build power plants.

“We invest in it with the private sector and we sell power to industrial consumers,” he said.

“Currently SEC has projects under construction to add 7 000 MW of capacity in the next two years,” Barrak told reporters on the sidelines of the same event.