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Ewec, Acwa seal $868m Taweelah desal deal

November 2019

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) and Acwa Power have confirmed the successful financial closing of the Dh3.19-billion ($868 million) Taweelah power and water desalination project, which means work on the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant can now go ahead.

Ewec is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower) and a leading company in the integrated co-ordination of planning, purchasing and supply of water and electricity across the UAE. Acwa Power is the leading Saudi-based developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water plants.

The new plant, which will be located at the Taweelah power and water desalination complex in Abu Dhabi, is likely to be completed in 2022.

A joint venture between ADPower and Mubadala Investment Company holds a 60 per cent equity interest in the Taweelah project, while the remaining 40 per cent is held by Acwa Power.

The funding for the project is sourced from a combination of senior project finance loans worth a total of Dh2.71 billion, in addition to equity contributions from shareholders and operating cashflow from pre-operations. The Taweelah plant’s loan structure is a “Soft Mini Perm”, with an expected refinancing period of a maximum three years starting after the commencement of the Taweelah project’s commercial operations. 

Ewec CEO Othman Al Ali said: “We are delighted to announce that our financial targets have been met and that this new initiative can now get under way. This financial structure is testament to the world-class quality of the plant, which will pave the way for future developments that will contribute to a more efficient and sustainable water and energy sector in the country,” he noted.

“This reverse osmosis desalination plant supports the UAE’s vision in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while significantly reducing gas consumption by decoupling power and water production for the winter and summer seasons,” he added.

According to Acwa Power chairman Mohammad Abunayyan, the Taweelah plant will set new benchmarks for its size, efficiency and cost of water produced. Supplying 909,200 cu m per day, it will be 44 per cent larger than the world’s current largest reverse osmosis plant of 624,000 cu m day.

The desalination facility is sufficient to meet the water demand for over 350,000 households.  A major driver for the adoption of reverse osmosis instead of thermal desalination is the higher energy efficiency it offers, he added.  

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