UPDATE 1-Saudi Electric signs $980 mln Waad Al Shamal power plant deal

(Adds CEO’s comments, details)

DUBAI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) has signed a 3.68 billion riyal ($980 million) deal to build a combined cycle power plant in Waad Al Shamal, it said in a statement on state news agency SPA on Wednesday.

The plant will have a total capacity 1,390 megawatt (MW), of which 50 MW will come from a solar component, the statement said. The solar energy will save the equivalent of 4 million barrels of oil equivalent over the course of the project.

Including the cost of connecting the plant to the electricity grid, the project’s total costs are expected to reach 4.67 billion riyals.

Waad Al Shamal is in the north of the kingdom where a big mining complex is under construction.

“We were able to get the cheapest capital cost prices at $1,600 per KW (kilowatt) which translates into the lowest tariff in the world for the KWH (kilowatt hour),” Ziyad al-Shiha, SEC’s CEO told Reuters by telephone.

“General Electric will be leading the development of the project including the supply of the gas turbines. They will subcontract the solar farm to other suppliers,” he said.

The power plant is due to be complete in 2018, SPA reported.

Last month, SEC contracted two companies for 2.5 billion riyals to build and operate an integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) plant in Duba on the West coast of the world’s largest oil exporter.

$1 = 3.7524 riyals Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Hadeel Al Sayegh; Writing by Katie Paul; Editing by David French and Mark Potter