Ras Al Khaimah late starter in Middle East solar desalination race

Construction is expected to start next month on a solar powered desalination plant in Ras Al Khaimah that will eventually supply 100,00 m3/day of drinking water for the emirate and neighbouring areas...

Dewa Solar Panel

Dewa Solar Panel

Construction is expected to start next month on a desalination plant in Ras Al Khaimah that will eventually supply 100,00 m3/day of drinking water for the emirate and neighbouring areas.

While solar desalination trials are already underway in the state’s bigger brother of Abu Dhabi (read WWi article), this project will include a separate tender for the supply of solar panels.

To oversee the development of the desalination plant, Utico Middle East and Spanish energy firm Grupo Cobra signed an agreement to incorporate Al Hamra Water Company, under a 60:40 partnership,

The Dhs719 million ($195.7 million) project will supply water directly to the Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA), as the primary off-taker.

Earlier this year FEWA opened a separate 68,130 m3/day seawater reverse osmosis project, built under an EPC contract by Aquatech (read WWi story).

Richard Menezes, managing director of Utico Middle East said the Ras Al Khaimah facility will be the first desalination plant in the region to be independently financed, which will be 80% debt financed and 20% liquidity. A return on investment is expected to be between 15% and 16%.

A tender has been issued to supply solar panels for the facility, with 16 companies reported to have pre-qualified.

The project is expected to become fully operational in 2018.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia Spanish firm Abengoa is working with Advanced Water Technology to jointly develop a 60,000 m3/day solar desalination plant (watch video interview).

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