Ewec receives bids from Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and EDF Renewables for solar project

The Al Ajban Solar PV Project will be able to power about 160,000 homes across the UAE once operational

The Al Ajban Solar PV Project will raise Ewec’s total solar power capacity to about 4 gigawatts. Photo: Ewec
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Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) has received four bids for the development of the 1,500-megawatt Al Ajban solar project.

The proposals were from Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power, EDF Renewables, Marubeni Corporation, and a consortium consisting of Jinko Power and JERA, Ewec said on Monday.

The Al Ajban Solar PV Project, which is set to become operational in 2026, will be able to power about 160,000 homes across the UAE and is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2.4 million metric tonnes per year.

It will also raise Ewec’s total solar power capacity to about 4 gigawatts.

“Ewec’s renewable energy projects are further strengthening the UAE's position as a global leader and role model in planning and implementing strategic tangible actions to realise long-term socio-economic and sustainability objectives,” said Othman Al Ali, chief executive of Ewec.

“Receiving these competitive bids demonstrates our expertise in commissioning world-leading renewable energy projects that attract internationally renowned companies to collaborate on achieving the UAE’s carbon-neutral future,” Mr Al Ali said.

Ewec said it received 43 “expressions of interest” from potential bidding companies, with 19 qualifying for the proposal stage.

The announcement of the award and the signing of the power purchase agreement is expected to take place by the fourth quarter of this year, the company said.

Ewec is targeting a 606 per cent rise in its solar power generation capacity by 2030 as the UAE pursues its goal of achieving net zero by 2050.

It plans to increase its solar power capacity to 7.3 gigawatts by the end of the decade, Ewec said in its Statement of Future Capacity Requirements report in March.

The report also forecast the requirement for an additional three gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2029 on top of the 1.5 gigawatts procured from the Al Ajban plant.

The UAE is investing heavily in clean energy projects and has announced several initiatives to reach its 2050 target.

The country is developing new clean energy projects such as the Barakah nuclear plant, a solar plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi with a total capacity of two gigawatts, and the five-gigawatt Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

Last week, the UAE Cabinet approved the updated version of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy.

Under the updated objectives of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, the Arab world’s second-largest economy will invest Dh200 billion ($54 billion) by 2030 to ensure energy demand is met while sustaining economic growth.

In May, a Dh2.3 billion desalination plant, called the Mirfa 2 Reverse Osmosis project, reached financial closing.

Ewec had awarded the contract to develop the plant to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa, and France’s Engie.

Updated: July 11, 2023, 6:19 AM