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Saudi-based ACWA Power Bags $800 Million Contract for the Construction of One of Africa’s Largest Desalination Plant

Saudi-based energy firm ACWA Power has signed an $800M contract deal for the construction of Africa’s largest desalination plant. The contract was signed between the Ministry of Water and Sanitation in Senegal, the National Water Company of Senegal (Sones), and ACWA Power. The aim is to develop a desalination project in Dakar, Senegal known as the Grande Cote water desalination facility. The proposed facility will have an installed capacity to process 400,000 cubic meters per day (cm/d) of seawater upon completion. The construction of Africa’s largest desalination plant by ACWA Power will be built in two phases. The phases will entail 200,000cm/d of water per day capacity once completed. The agreement deal between ACWA Power and the two Senegalese state-owned entities entails end-to-end development of the plant.

The Scope of Construction on Africa’s Largest Desalination Plant

ACWA Power is tasked with the mandate of ensuring the design and financing of Africa’s largest desalination plant. It is also mandated with the operation and maintenance of the desalination unit and the building of associated infrastructure. The mega project will use reverse osmosis technology to desalinate seawater and achieve 200,000 cm/d of seawater daily. The contract signed between ACWA Power and the two-state entities, Sones and the Senegalese ministry is for 32 years. ACWA Power will gain from contracted revenues after it starts commercial operation of the venture by the first quarter of 2028. The management of Africa’s largest desalination plant by ACWA Power will ensure that the project is managed properly before being handed to the state government.

The Significance of the Desalination Plant in Senegal

ACWA Power has been at the forefront of promoting clean and renewable energy projects in the African continent. In January 2024, Egypt signed a $1.5 billion deal with a consortium led by ACWA Power. The scope of the project entailed the development of a 1.1 gigawatts (GW) wind project located in the Gulf of Suez. Furthermore, ACWA Power in December signed a $4 billion deal with the government of Egypt. The deal entailed a green hydrogen project in the Suez Canal Economic Zone in line with the North African country’s goal. The North African country aims to emerge as a leading global clean energy producer. Moreover, a consortium led by ACWA Power, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic signed a renewable energy MoU. The construction of Africa’s largest desalination plant adds to these achievements.

The State of the Region over the Desalination Project

ACWA Power’s role in Africa’s largest desalination plant is fundamental progress in enhancing water distribution across Senegal. ACWA Power said the company was targeting future investments in Africa as part of the clean energy company’s plan to triple in size by 2030. “Africa needs that energy transition. But there aren’t enough developers going there and asking questions,” said ACWA Power’s managing director, Raad Al-Saady during a panel discussion at Cop28.

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