Spain's Acciona and France's Engie bid to develop Abu Dhabi desalination plant

The project will be able to supply up to 70 million imperial gallons of water a day

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Oct. 8, 2014:  
An evening view of section of the Abu Dhabi skyline and the Khaleej al Arabi street on Wednesday, Oct.8, 2014.  (Silvia Razgova / The National)

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The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) has received proposals from three companies for the development of a seawater desalination plant in Abu Dhabi.

Spanish infrastructure group Acciona, France’s Engie and GS Inima have shown interest in building the Shuweihat plant, which will supply up to 70 million imperial gallons a day in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region, Ewec said on Wednesday.

A potential contract will be awarded by the first quarter of 2023, with commercial operations expected to begin in the third quarter of 2025, the company said.

The project “will play a key role in ensuring both security of water supply, as well as reducing CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions, actively supporting the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative,” said Ewec chief executive Othman Al Ali.

“We are pleased to have received competitive bids for the project and will now move forward with our evaluation process,” he said.

Last month, Ewec invited companies to submit an expression of interest for the development of two new seawater desalination plants on Saadiyat Island and Hudayriat Island.

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

“Ewec is accelerating the decoupling of water and power generation capacity with the adoption of state-of-the-art reverse osmosis technology, supporting our strategic goal to reduce our system’s carbon footprint,” Mr Al Ali said.

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

In June, Ewec and Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power started operations on the first phase of the Dh3.2 billion ($874 million) Al Taweelah independent water plant.

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 Dh600bn worth of clean and renewable energy investments planned over the next three decades.

Updated: October 12, 2022, 10:04 AM
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