Abu Dhabi has shortlisted 25 bidders, including Japanese and French firms, to build its first independent water desalination plant, the emirate’s department of energy (DoE) said this week.
The Taweelah desalination complex will be powered by the electrical grid, according to Mohamed bin Jarsh al-Falasi, under-secretary.
More than 40 companies had expressed interest in the tender for the development, financing and operation of the water and power complex, which will supply 900,000 cubic metres of fresh water a day.
Among those shortlisted are Marubeni Corporation, Mitsubishi Corp, Sumitomo Corp JGC Corp as well as Engie, Veolia, Suez and Acwa Power. Local firms shortlisted include PAL Group and Utico.
Abu Dhabi’s current water production capacity stands at around 960 million gallons per day from 10 water desalination plants, enough to meet demand. It is building more plants to ensure security of supply to meet future demand.
Taweelah is the first complex that will separate fresh water production and power production. Its two desalination plants will run on reverse osmosis, which does not require integration with a power plant.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates has traditionally built water and power generation plants side by side, but is building the 200 million gallons per day (GPD) project independent of a power plant.
A developer or developer consortium will be selected from the shortlist and a water purchase and shareholder agreement will be signed in 2019, Falasi said.
Construction is scheduled for 2020-21 and commercial operations are due to start in 2022.
The selected developer or developer consortium will own up to 40 percent of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with the rest held directly or indirectly by the DoE.
Abu Dhabi is served by 11 desalination plants. Of these, four plants, in Delma, Mirfa and Fujairah, use reverse osmosis to produce 580,000 cubic metres of water a day. They account for 13 per cent of the emirate’s desalinated water production.
The Tawaleh plants will increase this to 30%.