Emirates Water & Electricity Company (EWEC) has put pen to paper on an $890million water purchase agreement with Saudi-based ACWA Power.
The deal entails the development of a reverse osmosis sea water desalination facility in Taweelah which, when fully operational, will serve 350,000 homes and process 900,000 cubic metres of water per day.
A statement said that the plant will “set new benchmarks” for its size, efficiency and cost of water produced, and will be 44% larger than the world’s current largest reverse osmosis facility.
Othman Al Ali, EWEC CEO, said: "We are delighted to launch this new initiative, which will help meet future water demand for the UAE.
“The choice of reverse osmosis sea water desalination technology will play a critical part in significantly reducing water production costs, contributing to our goals to build a more sustainable and efficient water and energy sector in the UAE.
“The project will also help save material fuel costs across the sector, given the flexibility that the technology provides."
The build, own and operate-basis contract for the plant is being undertaken by a joint venture of ABENGOA and PowerChina.
ACWA Power owns a 40% stake in the project company formed to be responsible for the plant, with the remaining 60% stake owned by Mubadala Investments Company and Abu Dhabi Power Corporation.
Once the project is complete, EWEC will be the off-taker for the water output produced by the project over a 30-year period.
The plant is scheduled to commence full commercial operations in Q4 2022.
Paddy Padmanathan, president and CEO of ACWA Power, said: "Our decision to bid for the Taweelah RO plant project demonstrates our confidence in EWEC as a reliable partner and confirms our commitment to contribute to the development of the United Arab Emirates by increasing our participation in the power generation and water desalination sectors.
“Through the Taweelah RO plant project and the enabling environment provided by Abu Dhabi, we are proud to be setting new global bench marks in both the cost of desalinated water and the energy consumed in producing that water."