Saudi Arabia plans gas-fired power plant integrating solar energy

Saudi Arabia's state-owned utility Saudi Electricity Co. has announced it is seeking bids to build, own and operate an advanced gas-fired power plant, Reuters reported. Saudi Electricity anticipates building the 550-megawatt plant near Tabuk on the Red Sea coast. The plant would be the first facility in the country to be powered by both fossil fuels and solar power, using a process know as integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC). Saudi Electricity said it aims to use solar power as a means to increase fuel efficiency. 

ISCC improves the efficiency of power plants with a system that allows power generation turbines to operate without burning additional fossil fuels. The utility plans to have the plant run mostly on natural gas with crude oil as a backup energy source.

Saudi Electricity Co. plans to spend $35.7 billion next year on power and water projects to meet growing energy demand. 

"SEC has an autonomous budget and we have already allocated SAR 100bn [$26.7bn] for the projects which we will carry out in 2014… they include new power plants, completion of projects under construction and maintenance of existing units," Minister of Water and Electricity Abdul Rahman Al Hussein told the London-based Arabic language daily Asharqalawsat.

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