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Saudi CSP giant ACWA Power now shelving coal power

June 30, 2023

ACWA Power’s Bokpoort Trough CSP plant in South Africa with SENER trough®-parabolic-trough-collector-technology-®SENER

[ED: ACWA Power’s CSP projects, developed in whole or in part include Bokpoort and Redstone in South Africa, parts of DEWA in Dubai and NOOR I,II and III in Morocco. It has consistently broken current CSP prices with new record low prices, and broken week-long overnight generation records due to its mastery of solar thermal energy storage]

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ACWA Power is steadily working toward achieving the Kingdom’s mission of reaching net zero carbons by 2060, as the company has decided not to invest in oil- or coal-fired power plants going forward.

“When we did the IPO, we had a coal-fired power plant and were developing another one, (but) we have stopped that and reserved the cost of this development,” ACWA Power CEO Paddy Padmanathan told Arab News.

The company has sold one of its coal-fired power plants and is now working on converting the other one into a gas-fired power plant, he added, on the sidelines of the Innovations Days, held on March 23 at KAUST.

Saudi Arabia has set a clear target to generate 50 percent of its total energy supplies by 2030 through renewable energy sources, with the other half from natural gas, as announced by its ministry of energy.

PIF-owned ACWA Power has sold its 32-percent stake in a Shuqaiq Water and Electricity Co. at SR391.5 million ($105 million), it said in a bourse filing.

Read More: PIF-owned ACWA Power sells $105m stake in Saudi desalination plant

The move is part of the utility giant’s capital recycling strategy, bringing it a step closer to 50-percent lower carbon intensity by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.

ACWA’s Shuqaiq water and power plant
ACWA Power plans to continue to invest in gas-fired plants; however, as the world does need more of this energy source, Padmanathan said their focus of investment would be in renewables.

“We have made a commitment that by 2030 the carbon intensity of our portfolio will be less than half of what it was in 2020,” he said.

Padmanathan stated that the world has signed up to reach net-zero by 2050, but the question of how has only been raised recently.

“It’s only now the world is starting to look at how to phase it,” he added.

KAUST Partnership

ACWA Power and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, KAUST, are currently hosting the Innovation Days 2022, from March 23-24, 2022.

In 2019, the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding, MoU, for launching the KAUST- ACWA Power Center of Excellence for Desalination and Solar Power.

KAUST invents in areas that can actually go into practice, whereas ACWA Power as operators can execute those practices on the ground. “It’s a powerful partnership between theory and practice,” he said.

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