Engie-led consortium breaks ground on sustainable desalination plant in KSA

Engie along with its partners Nesma Company and Ajlan & Bros Holding have broken ground on the Jubail 3B Independent Water Project (IWP). Commissioned by the Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), the Jubail 3B plant will produce 570,000cu/m per day of potable water using reverse osmosis technology.

Located 65km north of Dammam airport, the plant will supply water to the Riyadh and Qassim regions once commercially operational in 2024, under the terms of a 25-year Water Purchase Agreement.

The Engie-led consortium was awarded the Jubail 3B project in June last year after submitting a bid with a tariff of SR1.591 per cu/m of potable water to SWPC. Developed under a public-private partnership structure (PPP), the plant will be financed by the consortium and operated and maintained by Engie, a statement from Engie said.

Once complete, the plant will have a 61MWp capacity solar facility, which is said to be the largest in-house solar capability for a desalination plant in the Kingdom, and will optimise electricity consumption and reduce grid reliance.

Jubail 3B’s use of solar energy speaks directly to the Vision 2030 and net-zero objectives, which seek to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and drive the shift to clean energy, explained Khaled Z Al Qureshi, CEO of SWPC.

He explained, “As we look to increase the desalinated water supply across Saudi Arabia, we are delighted to see construction on the Jubail plant begin today. The provision of desalinated water is an essential strategy in our nation’s objective to ensure secure water supplies across the Kingdom while meeting the goals of Vision 2030. The Jubail 3B IWP plant will not only use reverse osmosis, a more energy-efficient process than traditional thermal desalination technologies but will also use renewable solar energy in place of traditional fossil fuels, helping to reduce its carbon footprint. Moreover, the plant will critically support the creation of local job opportunities.”

Engie CEO (Saudi Arabia) Turki Al Shehri said the launch of the construction work on the Jubail 3B plant is yet another milestone for the group that works to support of the government’s transition to low carbon, energy-efficient solutions in line with Vision 2030.

Al Shehri added, “For 30-years, we have been at the forefront of developing independent power and water projects across the Gulf. This latest innovative desalination solution is further proof of our commitment to supporting regional governments and businesses in delivering sustainable utility solutions against a backdrop of rapid economic growth.”

Jubail 3B CEO Philippe Lambert concluded, “With rapid demographic and economic growth taking place across the Kingdom, the Jubail 3B IWP plant will be essential to providing a secure and sustainable source of water to local populations. Jubail 3B Operation also aims to achieve 90% Saudisation, helping to support job opportunities for Saudi nationals and local economic growth. We are delighted to be breaking ground on the plant today and look forward to becoming fully operational by early 2024.”

In recent years, the Kindgom has invested heavily in energy and water infrastructure. In January of this year, Acciona handed over a 450,000cu/m water desalination plant to Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), while, in March, over 60 water projects worth $9.33bn were announced. In March, Neom also launched an all new subsidiary to develop sustainable energy and water systens.

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