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UAE's Ewec, Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power finalise $890m desal deal

The companies will develop a reverse osmsis facility with a capacity to produce 909,200 cubic metres of water per day

The desalination plant will be operational in Q4 2022. [representational image]
Utilities Middle East
The desalination plant will be operational in Q4 2022. [representational image]

UAE-based Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) — which deals with planning, purchasing, and supply of water and electricity announced on Tuesday that it signed a water purchase agreement with Saudi-based investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water plants, Acwa Power.

As part of the deal, the companies will develop a reverse osmosis (RO) desalination facility with a capacity to produce 909,200 cubic metre per day — enough to fulfill water demand of over 350,000 households — in Taweelah, located in approximately 45km north of Abu Dhabi. 

The plant, which is scheduled to begin operations in Q4 2022, will be developed on a build-own-operate basis, with the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract being awarded to a joint venture of Abengoa and PowerChina.

According to UAE-held state news agency, Wam, Acwa Power will own 40% of the project which has been finalised under the independent power producer model, while the remaining 60% will be jointly owned by Mubadala Investments Company and Abu Dhabi Power Corporation.

Upon completion of the project, Ewec will act as the off-taker for the water output produced by the project over a 30-year period. 

The Wam reported revealed that the desalination plant would be 44% larger than the world’s current largest RO plant which has a capacity to produce 624,000 cubic metres of water per day.

Speaking about the project, chief executive officer of Ewec, Othman Ali, said: “The choice of reverse osmosis sea water desalination technology will play a critical part in significantly reducing water production costs, contributing to our goals to build a more sustainable and efficient water and energy sector in the UAE."

He added: "The project will also help save material fuel costs across the sector, given the flexibility that the technology provides.”

Chief executive officer of Acwa Power, Paddy Padmanathan said that the company's decision to bid for the Taweelah RO plant project showcased its commitment to contribute to the development of the UAE by increasing its participation in the power generation and water desalination sectors.

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