ACWA to bid for 6,000MW in next six months

Saudi power company to bid for MENA Greenfield projects.

The Shuaibah III IWPP in Saudi Arabia is part of ACWA's asset base.
The Shuaibah III IWPP in Saudi Arabia is part of ACWA's asset base.

ACWA Power International will be pursuing its ambitious growth targets by bidding for projects in the MENA region totaling 6,000MW of generation capacity, the company’s CEO Paddy Padmanathan has revealed.

In the next six months, the company will be bidding for tenders for Greenfield projects for a power plant in Saudi Arabia, an IPP in Beirut and one in Egypt, the Al Zour North IWPP in Kuwait, and the Al Zur IPP in Oman.

ACWA is also actively pursuing renewables projects in the region. It is in the prequalifying stages for a CSP plant in Morocco, and has submitted two unsolicited proposals for renewables projects in Saudi Arabia last year. “We’ve got very competitive tariffs on the table, and we’re pushing those forward. No procurement tender that has been announced yet, but there will be one going forward and we will be there,” Padmanathan told Utilities Middle East.

The company is aiming to generate a minimum of 5 percent of its energy from renewables, which would equate to 1,500MW by 2014 if the asset growth strategy goes according to plan.

While ACWA’s current portfolio of power projects consists almost entirely of Greenfield projects, the company will looking to make more acquisitions in future, said the CEO. ACWA bought a majority share in the Barka I IWPP in Oman in August, its sole acquisition so far.

“Going forward I would imagine it doesn’t make sense to be thinking about having a hell of a lot of a greenfields under construction at the same time. We want to keep the risk balanced,” said Padmanathan. “Of the 30,000MW, I would imagine we would acquire through acquisitions about 40 percent.”

One of the markets that lends itself to acquisitions is Turkey, where the government is due to privatise 14,000MW of generation capacity. ACWA will be looking to buy up some of those assets, confirms the CEO.

ACWA is aiming to grow its asset base to 30,000MW and 5 million cubic meters of desalinated water per day by 2014, from a current base of 6,500MW and 2.25 million cubic meters.

To achieve this target, it is looking to build up an asset base outside its borders, and aims to be present in a minimum of three countries other than Saudi Arabia, and in two regions other than the GCC, by 2014, said Padmanathan, who named the markets the company is prioritising:

“Outside of Saudi Arabia and the GCC, we are concentrating on Turkey, Morocco and South Africa. We’ve picked these locations very carefully because they give us size, the growth in those places is big.”

He would like to see half of the company assets abroad within 10 years: “Personally what I would like to see us get to a 50:50 split within the next 10 years. Beyond that, if it shifts to 30 percent Saudi, 70 percent global, why not? Time will tell.”


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