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06 Jan 2022

Construction Begins on Saudi Arabia’s Clean-Energy Water Project

Construction Begins on Saudi Arabia’s Clean-Energy Water Project

  • A groundbreaking ceremony took place today at the 450,000 m3/day potable water production capacity Al Rayes desalination plant to mark the occasion
  • The consortium, which will finance, build, own, and operate the plant, consists of ENGIE, Nesma and Mowah.


5 January 2022, KSA: Global energy company ENGIE, together with water utility company Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), Saudi-based contracting firm Nesma and private desalination company Mowah, today broke ground on the 450,000 m3/day capacity Al Rayes seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant. The plant will use clean energy and be developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) structure. It is expected to be commercially operational from the last quarter of 2023.


Awarded by SWPC as a build, own, operate contract, the consortium will have a concession period of 25 years and have signed a $450m water purchase agreement with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plant will have a capacity of 450,000 m3/day and storage facilities for two operational days. Electricity supply to the plant will be supplemented with the addition to of on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) system following construction, helping reduce CO2 emissions. The expected average CO2 emission on the average operating conditions is 220,000 tCO2.d


The Al Rayes plant is expected to contribute $400m (SAR 1.5bn) to the Kingdom’s GDP. With Saudization a high priority for the consortium, the project will aim to fill 40% of the 500 jobs created during construction by Saudi Arabian nationals, rising to 50% during the first five years of operation and 70% for the remaining operational period.


Speaking on the occasion, Khaled Z Al Qureshi, CEO, SWPC, said, “Ensuring the sustainable development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s utilities is essential to the fulfillment of Vision 2030 and our commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2060. From securing foreign investments to embracing the shift toward renewable energy and creating jobs for the local communities, the Al Rayes desalination plant will significantly contribute to our nation’s social, economic, and environmental health.”


 Turki Al Shehri, CEO, ENGIE KSA, added, “Today is a major milestone for ENGIE in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we break ground on the Al Rayes desalination plant. The project provides an excellent model for how the private sector and government can work together to advance net-zero objectives, helping us transition to an emissions-free, circular economy. Moreover, in drawing overseas investment into the country and creating jobs for the local community, this project will successfully help meet the objectives of Vision 2030.”


Eric Maka, COO, ENGIE KSA, added, “The integrated seawater, reserve osmosis desalination plant in the region to be powered with the use of clean energy, the Al Rayes desalination plant will provide 450,000 cubic meters of freshwater per day. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has proceeded successfully, and we are delighted to break ground on it today. When complete, the project will critically help meet growing water demand while supporting socio-economic development and sustainability goals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”