Ewec invites bidders for UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant

25 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

DUBAI: Emirates Waste and Electricity Company is inviting bidders to build Abu Dhabi’s first waste-to-energy power project as the emirate continues to diversify its energy mix and pursue its carbon emission goals.

The plant, which will be located near Al Dhafra landfill in Abu Dhabi will have the capacity to process between 600,000 and 900,000 tonnes of waste annually. It will generate enough power to meet the needs of nearly 22,500 households and will divert the equivalent of 1.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year, the company said.

“We’re actually translating waste into fuel. So we do something good with it,” René Matthies, Ewec’s chief financial officer told The National in an interview, report agencies.

“It will reduce that [landfill] site very significantly. It’s so important that we really find a good way to deal with our waste in this country,” he added.

The scheme, which Ewec will develop with Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre (Tadweer), will be undertaken as an independent power producer (IPP) project. The winning bidder will own up to 40 per cent of the project, while the remainder will be held by the government of Abu Dhabi.

Developers interested in bidding for the project need to register their interest by February 11, 2021.

“This facility will set the benchmark for [waste-to-energy] energy projects in the region, not only in terms of scale but also in terms of efficiency and environmental benefits,” Salem Al Kaabi, director general of Tadweer, said.

Ewec also expects more solar photovoltaic capacity to be added in the UAE on the back of growing demand for green hydrogen in Europe, according to Mr Matthies.

“We suddenly are operating on the global market, especially in Europe. Hydrogen production increases the growth not only potential, but also the speed of adding new PV capacity to our portfolio in the UAE,” he said.

The UAE, which accounts for 4.2 per cent of the global output for crude, has begun to prioritise the development of blue and green hydrogen as part of its green transition. Last year, the country pledged to lower its carbon emissions by 23.5 per cent by 2030, from a 2016 baseline. Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas, while green hydrogen is developed from renewable energy. Last week, key players in the UAE’s energy and industrial landscape came together to form a hydrogen alliance to transform the country into an export hub for the clean fuel.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Mubadala Investment Company and state holding company ADQ joined forces to develop critical capabilities in the UAE, to service a growing global demand for hydrogen.

Ewec, which is part of ADQ, can help the company become a significant exporter of hydrogen by ramping up its solar power capacity.