Taweelah IWP obtains first-ever “sustainable loan” qualification for desalination project

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Render of the Taweelah IWP project.

ACWA power supply

ABU DHABI, MARCH 16, 2020 – ACWA Power and Natixis announced that Taweelah IWP has obtained the first ever “sustainable loan” qualification for a global water desalination project. Closing in September 2019, this US $ 758 million project finance loan, with a contractual term of 32.4 years, will finance what will become the largest reverse osmosis plant in the world when completed in 2022.

Vigeo Eiris, who provided a second independent opinion on the benchmarks and sustainability management of this project finance loan, confirmed that it is aligned with the four components of the Green Lending Principles (published by the LMA in 2018 ) and the principles of social obligation. (published by ICMA in 2018, and used in this case in the absence of published social lending principles).

Natixis acted as initial mandated principal arranger, documentation bank, hedging provider, global facility agent and sustainable lending coordinator. Natixis also acted as sole arranger and investment agent under the Islamic Equity Bridge Loan for the equity portion of ACWA Power.

This project finance loan is dedicated to finance the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a state-of-the-art 200 million Imperial gallons per day standby osmosis plant and infrastructure and associated facilities. The plant will be built in the existing complex in Taweelah, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The project also includes a state-of-the-art 68 MW photovoltaic power plant to supplement the buyer’s grid energy supply.

ACWA Power is the main developer and operator of the project and a 40% shareholder, with the remaining 60% being contributed by the government of Abu Dhabi through Abu Dhabi Power Corporation and Mubadala Development Company PJSC. Emirates Water & Electricity Company (EWEC), an entity wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi and the region’s water and electricity supplier, is the sole buyer of the project under a contract for 30 years.

ACWA Power’s proposed tariff for Al Taweelah’s IWP was the lowest ever reached in the world for desalinated water. The project, once built, will also set another world record using the lowest amount of energy per gallon of desalinated water produced. The plant will play a critical role in meeting Abu Dhabi’s peak water demand, which is expected to increase by 11% between 2017 and 2024.

According to Vigeo Eiris, the Taweelah project will be “a state-of-the-art desalination plant, incorporating modern and energy-efficient technologies for water production (seawater reverse osmosis), higher standards and control of the quality of the water in its effluents ”. The technology used is considered by the World Bank to be the most energy efficient and best in class among existing desalination technologies. Vigeo Eiris expects “the new desalination plant to significantly increase – almost doubling – the volume of water supply available to the local water network and the population, aligned with the expected doubling of local water demand. by 2050 ”.

Thanks to the photovoltaic plant integrated into the project, renewable energies should represent at least 30% of the electrical capacity of the project within ten years, with a target of increasing this figure to 55% by the end of the first quarter of life. of the project. The project is expected to replace two smaller local thermal desalination plants that will be decommissioned in the coming years, improving local air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Vigeo Eiris considers that “the project is likely to contribute to four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation, SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy, SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities and SDGs 13 – Climate action.


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