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Saudi power firm plans to build $30 billion of renewable projects by 2030

ACWA Power International, one of Saudi Arabia’s main vehicles for building renewable energy projects, is proposing to take part in a $30 billion worth of renewable projects with partners Saudi Aramco and the country’s Public Investment Fund before the end 2030.

Saudi Arabia, which has revised its renewable target several times, wants to push ahead with more solar and wind projects to reduce crude burn in power generation and free up the oil for export.

It wants to develop 70 percent of the targeted renewable energy though the PIF, Aramco and ACWA Power partnership and the remaining 30percent through competitive tenders launched by the ministry of energy.

According to ACWA’s CEO Paddy Padmanathan, this big portfolio will be done a project by project basis, with the first being the Sudair project.
“We will subsequently do exactly within the framework of that agreement the next project, the next project and the next project in exactly the same way,” Padmanathan told Spglobal.

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ACWA Power expects the renewable projects to represent at least 85percent of its total portfolio by 2030, thanks to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious program. The total power portfolio by 2030 is expected to be around 150 GW.

“We want to maintain a balanced portfolio across the markets we operate in,” said Padmanathan. “We are very happy to have at least 50percent in Saudi. Demand is there, the need is there and affordability is there. By 2030, I suspect Saudi renewables will be more than international simply because Saudi has a massive program.”

ACWA Power is also involved in the country’s $6.5 billion green hydrogen and ammonia project that is being developed with futuristic, zero-carbon city Neom and US-based Air Products. Neom is part of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s flagship Vision 2030 project, intended to diversify the economy away from oil.

ACWA Power is hunting for more green hydrogen and ammonia projects of similar size in the Gulf region and North Africa and expects to finalize one by the end of 2021, Padmanathan said.

“I very much like to think we can do something before the end of November,” he said. “These are big projects. It would be nice if we can make advances on one more and if possible, another two more.”

ACWA began trading on the Saudi stock market this month after selling an 11 percent stake. The move values the entire company at $10.9 billion.
Padmanathan confirmed that gas projects will still form part of ACWA’s portfolio but added the business would be “very careful and very selective” about the type of gas-fired power plant schemes it becomes involved in.

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