ABU DHABI, 26th January 2016 (WAM) – The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and its group companies exert significant efforts to achieve sustainability in the field of electrical power generation, and work on improving the efficiency of traditional generation plants, relying upon innovations that contribute towards developing sustainable production, including the application of the most up-to-date means and most efficient and smart technologies.
In line with this focus, and in furtherance of government policies aimed at strengthening sustainability and diversifying sources of production, ADWEA is working firmly towards implementing its first major project in the field of renewable power through the establishment of a solar power plant having a 350 MW capacity in the Sweihan area in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, using solar photovoltaic technology, which will be implemented using the IPP structure adopted by ADWEA.
The project is considered one of the largest solar power projects in the gulf region and the wider Middle East, and the establishment of the plant will contribute towards enhancing the profile of the United Arab Emirates more generally and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi more specifically as global centers in the field of solar power and as pioneers in the power sector which is witnessing continued growth. It is worth noting that in addition to generating 350 MW of renewable energy, there will be an added benefit relating to the reduction in the use of gas required to general power using traditional means. The project is also expected to result in the generation of electrical capacity based on competitive economic terms, which will contribute towards achieving savings for the water and electricity sector.
As part of its participation as strategic partner in the 2016 International Water Summit, and as part of its participation in the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, ADWEA received much appreciation for its sustainability efforts, particularly in the field of renewable energy. Participants from various local and international governmental authorities, companies, specialists, research centers and innovators, welcomed ADWEA’s efforts in support of renewable energy. Additionally, many dignitaries visiting ADWEA’s stand expressed a lot of interest in the Sweihan solar power project and emphasized its importance. They also enquired about certain project details, and listened to additional explanations from ADWEA and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (ADWEC) about the project and what is being planned, in realization of the efforts of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi which are well known internationally in this field.
ADWEA had previously issued invitations to express interest for the Sweihan solar power project via local and international media, to ensure competition in choosing a developer or consortium of developers that would implement the project. The number of responses received from international and local companies specialized in renewable energy have so far reached about 90, including leading companies in the areas of manufacturing, scientific research, development, investment and implementation of major projects in the field of solar energy. This indicates the high level of trust that local and international investors, developers and governmental and non-governmental entities have in ADWEA projects and the water and electricity sector in the Emirate, as well as in the IPP structure developed by ADWEA which is being successfully implemented in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
It is worth noting that the number of IWPP plants (the first of which commenced in 1998) currently stands at ten plants. Such plants were established in partnership with international companies with high level expertise in the field of generation of electricity and desalination of water. The amount of total investments in the IWPP plants have reached almost AED 70 billion, with a total capacity of more than 15,000 MW of electricity and more than 900 million gallons of water per day. Since the start of the IWPP structure, the Emirate has not faced any blackouts or shortages in supply, despite the significant development and speedy growth witnessed by the Emirate, which is something that is considered unique in fast-growing economies.
The latest developments in connection with the Sweihan solar power project relate to having a number of specialized and well-known technical, financial and legal consulting firms submit proposals seeking their appointment as consultants to the project. ADWEA and ADWEC are assessing the proposals which have been received, and it is expected that consultants will be appointed before the end of this month. Following such appointment, the first coordination meeting will be held with consultants in February, so that the various work streams can officially commence. Once all expressions of interests are reviewed, the various entities will be informed as to whether or not they have progressed to the next stage. ADWEA and ADWEC will send a request for statement of qualifications to selected entities, and such statement will include additional details on the project, applicable qualification criteria, and the tender procedure.
It is expected that the tender will be issued during the first half of this year, and ADWEA and ADWEC intend to select the winning bidder following that in the second half of 2016. According to the preliminary timeline currently in place, it is expected that financial close will be achieved during the first half of 2017, and that the project will commence commercial operation and generate electricity during 2019.