Acwa Power, Energy China to look at joint investment opportunities

Agreement comes increasing efforts to engage Chinese companies across the energy value chain

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 10, 2018

Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power has signed an agreement with state-owned Energy China to explore for joint investment opportunities in power and water desalination across the Middle East and Asia, as regional renewables activity is expected to expand.

The agreement would allow for the greater strengthening of relationship with China in the region, said Paddy Padmanathan, president and chief executive, Acwa Power.

The news comes amid a growing push to engage Chinese companies across the energy value chain in the Middle East. China, which has overwhelmingly relied on fossil fuel-based resources to power its economic growth has taken a significant step to shut down polluting factories that lead to smog in its metropolises and embrace cleaner energy, China's green efforts will see investments of up to $360bn in renewable energy by 2020 and the closure of nearly 85 coal-fired power plants.

Riyadh-based Acwa Power, which has been snapping up renewable energy contracts across the region awarded Energy China work on the 700MW phase four of the Mohammed bin Rashid solar park earlier this month. Acwa Power is undertaking the development of the phase with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, with Shanghai Electric appointed as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

Acwa Power recently submitted a bid on Saudi Arabia's first-ever wind project - a 400 MW scheme in the country's northern Al Jouf region.

Developers like Acwa Power are ramping up efforts to tap into a lucrative renewables project market opening up in the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia, the region's biggest oil exporter is expected to tender around 4GW of solar and wind projects this year alone. Its renewables ambitions form part of efforts to burn less oil for power and spare more barrels for export.

Mr Padmanathan told reporters in March that he expected Saudi Arabia's newly established Renewable Energy Development Office within the Saudi ministry to launch 11 solar and wind tenders in 2018.