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Seven bidders up for Taweelah desalination project in Abu Dhabi

Acwa Power of Saudi Arabia, along with its partner Abengoa, placed the lowest bid using the higher electricity tariff at AED8.26 ($2.25) per 1,000 gallons (4.55 m3); or $0.49 per cube

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Desalination, ACWA Power, Taweelah desalination complex, Taweelah

Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has unveiled the seven consortia bidding for Taweela desalination plant mega-project, with the lowest price coming from ACWA Power at $0.49 per cube.

The authority, into which utility Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) was folded in March 2018, is evaluating bids from seven consortia:

* ACWA Power;
* Suez International Power SA Dubai Branch (Engie), with Marubeni Corp;
* Sumitomo Corp, with Veolia Middle East;
* Valoriza Agua, with Utico FZC and IDB Infrastructure Fund II;
* Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, with Orascom Construction;
* Acciona Agua, with Pal Group; and
* Suez International, with Sojitz Corporation and NV Besix SA.

Acwa Power of Saudi Arabia, along with its partner Abengoa, placed the lowest bid using the higher electricity tariff at AED8.26 ($2.25) per 1,000 gallons (4.55 m3); or $0.49 per cube. The next best bid under that electricity price was 4 percent higher from partners Engie and Marubeni at AED8.26 per TIG.

ACWA's bid was cheaper even than the $0.53 per cube it submitted for Rabigh 3 project in Saudi Arabia in August 2018, when it was the lowest bidder by $0.01.

Companies are vying to develop the Taweelah desalination plant, which will have a water production capacity of 200 million gallons per day (MIGD) of water. The winning company or consortium will own 40 percent of the plant.

More than 40 firms initially expressed interest in the Taweelah tender which was whittled down to 25 companies being qualified to receive the request for proposal (RFP).

The Abu Dhabi project, for reverse osmosis capacity of 200 million imperial gallons a day (909,000 m3/d) at Taweela power and water complex, will raise the emirate’s proportion of desalinated water produced by reverse osmosis from 13 per cent today to 30 per cent by 2022.

Of the total amount of energy used for desalination across the world – the UAE is responsible for half. This is because the country is heavily dependent on the Arabian Gulf which has high amounts of saline for a water resource. The higher levels of salt require larger amounts of energy. Nearly 40 percent of the water used in Abu Dhabi has been desalinated, according to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, and almost all the drinking water is desalinated.

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