Emirates Water and Electricity Company has awarded a contract to develop a desalination plant to a consortium made up of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa, and France’s Engie.
Taqa will take a majority share of the equity in the Mirfa 2 Reverse Osmosis plant, along with a stake in the operations and maintenance company, Ewec said on Monday.
“We look forward to this strategic collaboration with Taqa and Engie, which will see the development of the UAE’s third-largest low-carbon intensive RO water desalination plant,” said Ewec chief executive Othman Al Ali.
“Ewec is continuing to invest heavily in the development of RO projects and by 2030, [we] expect over 90 per cent of our water production to be via RO, resulting in the total carbon emissions associated with water production falling from 14.6 million tonnes in 2020 to 2.1 million tonnes by 2030,” said Mr Al Ali.
Reverse osmosis is a membrane-based method of desalination that uses less energy than the thermal process of producing fresh water. The method helps to lower the energy intensity of an industry that takes up a significant share of regional power consumption.
The project, which is expected to become fully operational in the third quarter of 2025, will use low-carbon technology to produce up to 550,000 cubic metres of potable water a day.
It will be 60 per cent owned by Taqa while the remaining 40 per cent will be held by Engie.
“As the low-carbon power and water champion of Abu Dhabi, Taqa is proud to be a principal shareholder in the M2 RO project, which will be critical to supporting national decarbonisation efforts and long-term water security for the UAE,” said Farid Al Awlaqi, executive director of generation at Taqa.
“The project also supports our growth ambitions to have water production using RO technology become more than two thirds of our total capacity by 2030.”
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 ($163.3 billion) worth of clean and renewable energy investments planned over the next three decades.
The Emirates is building the five-gigawatt Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai and the 1.5-gigawatt Al Dhafra station.
In December, Ewec said that clean energy accounts for more than 60 per cent of the total power it generates.