CEO interview: Abu Dhabi's TAQA 'very well placed' to access green financing

Jasim Hussain Thabet said TAQA is likely to seek financing for some projects 'in due course'

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) Group CEO and Managing Director Jasim Husain Thabet.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) Group CEO and Managing Director Jasim Husain Thabet.

TAQA / Handout via Zawya

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) is very well placed to access green financing having observed growing demand and appetite for more sustainable financing, its CEO said.

CEO Jasim Hussain Thabet said that as part of the company’s growth agenda it is likely to seek such financing for some of its projects in due course but declined to disclose details of any future issuances.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX)-listed company currently meets more than 95 percent of Abu Dhabi’s power and water needs. It also benefits from exclusivity rights that allow it to participate in all power generation and water desalination projects tendered in Abu Dhabi over the next decade with, a minimum 40 percent equity share, said Thabet.

TAQA, a majority-owned subsidiary of state-owned ADQ, announced earlier this year that it would invest $11 billion in power infrastructure and has ambitions for becoming the emirate’s champion for low carbon and water.

And, after its assets were valued at $50 billion last year, TAQA also announced in April 2021 that it had sold $1.5 billion in seven-year dual tranche bonds.

But, the size of future investments will depend on market conditions and other variables, Thabet said, adding, it was also ‘too soon’ to publicise a target amount for any future bond issuances. 

“What we have targeted is to increase our power capacity in the UAE to 30 GW by 2030 from the existing 18 GW and a further 15 GW internationally,” he said.

Growth focus

The company is also focused on driving efficiency from existing assets while strengthening development, operations and digital competencies, he said, adding that while it would consider international acquisitions, the focus is on development within the UAE. 

For example, the company has 11 fully operational plants and two under development. Taweelah Reverse Osmosis (RO) Desalination Plant, north of the city of Abu Dhabi, is projected to be the world’s largest RO plant producing 200 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) of water, and includes 50 megawatts of onsite solar to boost the plant’s sustainability agenda.

The company has two fully operational plants in the emirate of Fujairah F1 and F2, with a combined production capacity of 2.982 GW of power and 263 MIGD of water.

A third Fujairah power plant, currently in development, F3, is the largest independent and most efficient gas fired power plant in the UAE with 2.4 GW of generation capacity, Thabet said.

He said: “At this stage, we will continue to focus on developing our existing assets in the UAE and strengthening our generation capacity and developing our transmission and distribution infrastructure to ensure we meet growing domestic demand for power and water. However, we are always open to exploring investment opportunities – locally and internationally – that align with our strategy and will drive positive returns to our stakeholders.” 

Focus on renewables

The UAE has targets to increase its use of ‘clean’energy to 50 percent of capacity by 2050, which was reaffirmed by the government last month.

Thabet said TAQA plans to increase production capacity from renewable resources to comprise more than 30 percent of its power generation portfolio by 2030, up from five percent, with the primary focus being solar photovoltaic (PV).

TAQA’s portfolio includes the world’s largest single-site solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, Noor Abu Dhabi, which has a generation capacity of 1.2 GW

Its Al Dhafra Solar PV plant, which is under development, will have a gross power capacity of 2 GW of renewable solar power and has achieved one of the most cost competitive tariffs for solar power at 1.32 cents (US) per kWh.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)

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