Masdar, EDF Secures USD 1.4 Billion Saudi Solar Power Project


Electricite de France SA and Masdar, the UAE's green energy firm, have secured a 25-year deal to supply power and water to a resort complex being built on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Coast. According to Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, the project will cost approximately $1.4 billion and will begin providing power and water services next year. The facility is part of a larger strategy to redevelop the desert oil production as a premium vacation destination.

“It’s a unique project,” Al Ramahi said. The partners will build “a fully integrated independent utility project. Basically it is power, it’s water, it’s water treatment, it’s distribution, and it’s totally off grid powered by renewables”. The companies aim to raise about 80 per cent of the cost through project financing that will close by the end of the year, he said.

Red Sea Global, a state-owned developer, awarded the enterprises the contract to deliver solar energy and desalinated water to the Amaala project. The partners will construct a solar energy system capable of generating up to 410,000 megawatt hours of power per year, enough to power 10,000 households. The financial details were not provided.

As part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 strategy, the world's largest crude oil exporter is investing vast amounts of money on industrial, lifestyle, and technology projects. The crown prince wants to prepare Saudi Arabia for a future that is less reliant on oil by developing new industries and jobs.

Amaala is designed to run solely on solar energy and emit no carbon dioxide once fully operational. EDF and Masdar will construct battery storage to provide power around the clock. It will also include a desalination plant fueled by renewable energy and waste-water treatment facilities.

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