Mecca Seeks to Lead Saudi Arabia’s Solar Energy Expansion

BLOOMBERG - Mecca, which hosts millions of pilgrims a year visiting Islam’s most holy shrine, is working toward becoming the first city in Saudi Arabia to operate a utility-scale plant generating electricity from renewables.

The city on Jan. 5 plans to select from a group of at least 20 bidders competing to build and operate facilities producing 385 gigawatt-hours per year of power including 100 megawatts of solar capacity, said Mayor Osama al-Bar.

“No city in Saudi Arabia owns power-generation assets, and we want to be first city that owns power plants and hopefully the first in the Muslim world,” al-Bar said in an interview on Sept. 16 in the nation’s capital, Riyadh.

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