PROJECTS: Top 5 power projects in the GCC

Gulf countries are turning to environment-friendly technologies to secure their power and water supplies

Image used for illustrative purpose. Power plant,Energy power station.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Power plant,Energy power station.


Mega power plants under construction across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) all have common aims – the desire to cut carbon emissions while ensuring future water and power supply.

A decade ago, a new power plant project would have been a messy mix of carbon-heavy materials. But increasingly, countries worldwide are keen to do no harm as they look to secure future energy requirements.

Across the Gulf region, these projects, valued at $3.75 billion in total, are focusing on harnessing natural gas and solar and reclaiming seawater for potable use in a sustainable manner while offsetting millions of tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions.

According to the United Nations, over two billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, while roughly one-sixth of the world's population live in severely water-constrained agricultural areas.

Today, 1.42 billion people – including 450 million children – live in areas of water vulnerability, according to a UNICEF report published this year. About 4 billion people, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year, and 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030, according to data analysis by the Global Water Institute.

GCC states are busy future-proofing water and power supplies by employing sustainable resources. Desalination and reclamation plants feature strongly in the mega project's line-up, with solar energy powering most projects.

Here are the Top 5 power plant projects under construction in the GCC:

1 Al Dur 2 IWPP

Country: Bahrain

Estimated cost: $1.1bln

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: June 2022

The scope of work involves the construction of an Independent Water and Power Plant (IWPP) project at Al Dur comprising of a 1,500-megawatt combined cycle plant power and 50 Million Imperial Gallons Per Day (MIGD) sea water reverse osmosis-based desalination plant.

The plant will be integrated with the existing intake and outfall facilities, while the gas connection facilities shall be developed and transferred to Tatweer to facilitate the supply of natural gas to the plant. The project is currently under construction. 

2 Marjan Field Cogeneration ISPP

Country: Saudi Arabia

Estimated cost: $1bln

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: End 2023

The scope of work involves the construction of an Independent Steam & Power Plant (ISPP), with a power generation capacity of 700 to 900 MW, steam capacity of 1,152-3,054 kilo pascals per hour of steam, and a desalination plant (Tanajib plant) of 24,000 cubic metres/ day (m3/day) capacity, expandable to 34,000 m3/day, according to a February 2020 report by Energy & Utilities news portal. The project is slated for completion by the fourth quarter of 2023.

3 Al Kharsaah Solar Photovoltaic IPP

Country: Qatar

Estimated cost: Up to $600mln

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Early 2022

The scope of work involves the construction of an 800 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) independent power plant (IPP) located at Al Kharsaah, 80 kilometres west of Doha. The country’s largest solar project to date, Al Kharsaah Solar PV IPPwill be developed in two phases under a Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer (BOOT) model. 

Phase 1 of the project will include a 350 MW grid-connected solar power plant, while Phase 2 involves the commercial commissioning of the total capacity.  The project company has entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with the off-taker Kahramaa.

The solar plant would span land area of more than 1,000 hectares and be equipped with two million bifacial solar modules with trackers to leverage the exceptionally high sunlight exposure in the region.

Al Kharsaah represents around 10 percent of electricity peak demand of Qatar and will reduce the Gulf state’s CO2 emissions by 26 million tonnes during the life of the project. 

The project, under construction, is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2022.

4 Al Layyah Combined Cycle Power Plant

Country: UAE

Estimated cost: $550mln

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Q3 2022

The scope of work involves the construction of a 1,026.3 MW combined power plant in Al Layyah, Sharjah as part of the expansion of existing 896 MW power plant. The expansion comprises of two gas turbines, two thermal energy recovery boilers, and one steam turbine.

The first phase with a capacity of 345 MW will be operational in October 2021, the second with a capacity of 345 MW is scheduled to be completed during January 2022, while the third phase with a capacity of 336 MW is expected to be completed in July 2022, the UAE’s state-owned news agency WAM had reported in December 2020. The project is the first EPC-plus-finance project in the UAE power sector. In addition to generating electric power, the three-phase project, will use the steam produced on site to desalinate water.

5 Ibri-2 PV IPP

Country: Oman

Estimated cost: $500mln

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Q4 2021

The 500 MW Ibri-2 solar PV Independent Power Project (IPP), located in Al-Dhahirah Governorate, is deemed Oman's largest utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plant. The project is implemented under Build, Own and Operate model under a 15-year offtake agreement with Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).  At peak generation capacity, the plant output will be enough to supply an estimated 33,000 homes with electricity and will offset 340,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. The project, currently in the commissioning stage, is expected to be commence operations before the end of 2021. The project was originally scheduled to start operations in June.

(Writing by SA Kader; Additional inputs Senthil; Editing by Charles Lavery & Anoop Menon)


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© ZAWYA 2021

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