Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, plans to inaugurate one of the largest wind energy plants in Saudi Arabia in the next few months and is setting up a regional HQ in the kingdom as more projects will be sought in the Middle East, CEO Henrik Andersen said.
The Dumat Al Jandal wind farm in the northern part of the country will have 400 MW capacity and is in partnership with the UAE’s Masdar and EDF, Andersen told reporters on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. The project was started in 2013 and “is actually big scale now and it works,” he said. When wind is measured at 85 to 125 meters above ground, it becomes “very attractive” economically, he said. “Since 2013 the levelized cost of energy and technology has improved so much,” he said. The company will “absolutely” be bidding for more projects in the region, he said.
Vestas has more than 70,000 turbines installed globally, replacing 220 million mt of CO2 every year, he said. The wind market for power grew to 770 GW in 2020 from 12 GW in 2000 and 185 GW in 2010, he noted. While Vestas does not yet have any wind power plants in the UAE, he said “we probably will. I was with certain of the decision makers over the last couple of weeks. It’s coming up and it’s being planned.” He wouldn’t say who he met with or where.
Saudi Arabia will be the company’s regional HQ, as opposed to today when the regional business is “very much” based out of Dubai, he said.
Vestas needs to have the people and the technology on the ground to keep expanding with more projects that are expected in the region, he said. The decision is unrelated to Saudi Arabia’s call for companies to have regional HQs in the kingdom to qualify for government tenders, he said. “You have to move both the competence, the people and the technology where we can also make the biggest step. We are also here to see that the technology will help us along. And today that technology is very important that it can scale hand in hand in this energy transition.”