Ewec invites expressions of interest to develop desalination plants

Two new plants will provide 100 million imperial gallons of water per day to about 180,000 households in Abu Dhabi

The plants in Saadiyat Island and Hudayriat Island will use low-carbon intensive reverse osmosis technologies. Bloomberg
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Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) has invited companies to submit an Expression of Interest for the development of two new seawater desalination plants in Abu Dhabi.

The two plants in Saadiyat Island and Hudayriat Island will provide nearly 100 million imperial gallons per day of water to about 180,000 households in Abu Dhabi, using low-carbon intensive reverse osmosis technologies, Ewec said in a statement on Monday.

These plants are part of the Abu Dhabi Islands Reverse Osmosis Independent Water Project.

“This project will become Ewec’s seventh and eighth reverse osmosis desalination plants once operational, advancing Ewec’s strategic initiative to decouple power and water generation capacity, and supporting the decarbonisation of water and electricity production,” the statement said.

Reverse osmosis is a membrane-based method of desalination which uses less energy than the thermal process of producing fresh water. The method helps lower the energy intensity of an industry that takes up a significant share of regional power consumption.

Ewec is “making rapid and tangible changes to the water and energy production portfolio with a focus on sustainability, in support of UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative", Othman Al Ali, chief executive of Ewec, said.

The UAE, Opec's third largest oil producer, aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 and is focusing on the development of clean energy projects. The country has Dh600 billion ($163.3bn) worth of clean and renewable energy investments planned over the next three decades.

Ewec is inviting developers to submit their EOIs by September 30. After a review of the EOIs, it will issue a request for qualifications to proceed to the next stage.

The project will involve the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the two plants.

The successful developer or developer consortium will own up to 40 per cent of a special purpose vehicle, while the remaining equity will be held indirectly by the Abu Dhabi government, according to the statement.

Updated: September 19, 2022, 3:29 PM