ACWA Power and the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) announced on Thursday the start of operations for Phase 1 of Al Taweelah Independent Water Plant (IWP) in Abu Dhabi.

A joint press statement said the sea water reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant hs started initial operations at 50 percent capacity, producing 454,600 cubic metres per day (m3/day) or 100 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) of desalinated water.

The second phase will see the plant achieve full capacity of 909,200 m3/day (or 200 MIGD), the statement said.

Al Taweelah IWP is partially powered by solar energy, which is expected to meet 30 percent of the plant's electricity demand in first eight years, with a target of increasing solar energy's share to 55 by the end of the first quarter-life of the project, the statement said.

Previously, ACWA Power had annonced that the project includes a 68 megawatt peak photovoltaic power plant to complement the energy supply from the grid.

ACWA Power is the lead developer and operator of the project and a 40 percent shareholder, with the remaining 60 percent contributed by the Government of Abu Dhabi through Abu Dhabi Power Corporation and Mubadala Development Company.

State-owned EWEC is the sole offtaker of the project under a 30-year contract.

The project cost of 3.19 billion UAE dirhams ($869 million) was funded with a combination of senior project finance loans and equity contributions from shareholders and operating cashflow from pre-operations, according to a September 2019 statement issued by EWEC.

The project closed a $758 million project finance loan with a contractual tenor of 32.4 years in September 2019, becoming the first water desalination project worldwide to obtain sustainable loan qualification.

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)