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ACWA Power and EWEC announce financial deal of $868 million for Abu Dhabi desalination plant

  • ACWA Power and EWEC announce financial deal of $868 million for Abu Dhabi desalination plant

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Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) and ACWA Power, one of the fastest growing power and water developers in the Middle East, announced on Saturday the successful financial closing for Abu Dhabi’s Taweelah desalination plant worth 3.19 billion dirhams ($869 million), reports Reuters.

Planned to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022, the Taweelah project would be the largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in the world. Moreover, it would be the first desalination plant in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, to be built independent of a power generation plant.

Abu Dhabi Power Corporation and Mubadala Investment Company hold a 60 per cent equity interest in this project while ACWA Power holds the remaining 40 per cent.

Producing 909,200 cubic meters per day (m3/day), it will meet the water demand of 350,000 households. It will also be 44% larger than the world’s current biggest reverse osmosis plant of 624,000 m3/day, setting new benchmarks for its size and efficiency.

In a statement, Mohammad Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, said:  "Achieving such a strategic milestone at this stage in our relationship with EWEC is a sure indicator of the type of success we can expect from this project. The financial closing of the Al Taweelah plant with renowned institutions was made possible by our cooperation, the scale and impact of this project and the future growth and development we anticipate in the UAE. We are truly delighted to play a role in the Independent Water Producers program (IWP) launched by EWEC helping secure the water needs for its communities."

"We are delighted to announce that our financial targets have been met and that this new initiative can now get underway. 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. 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," added Othman Al Ali, CEO of EWEC.

The project is to be financed from a combination of senior project finance loans worth 2.71 billion dirhams and the remainder is to come from shareholders and operating cash flow 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.

The loans have been arranged by local and international banks including Emirates NBD, Natixis Mizuho Bank Siemens Bank, Bank Boubyan and the Norinchukin Bank.

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