ACWA Power consortium to energise luxury Red Sea Project with renewables and battery storage

by John Shepherd
Project 'designed to enhance natural environment for future generations'. Image: TRSDC
A consortium led by Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power has been awarded a major renewables plus 1GWh battery storage contract for the Red Sea Project – a new luxury tourism destination “powered solely by renewable energy”.

Project developer, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), has secured multinational investment for its “first public-private partnership for utilities package, focused exclusively on environmentally-responsible renewable energy, water production, wastewater treatment and district cooling”.

ACWA Power said energy for the 28,000 sq km resort complex, on the Saudi west coast, will be generated via solar panels and wind turbines. The PPP agreement forsees up to 650,000MWh of renewable energy generation to supply the destination and utility systems.

“Included in the package is the world’s largest battery storage facility of 1GWh, which is expected to allow the destination to remain completely off-grid and powered by renewables day and night.”

Battery technology details have yet to be disclosed.

The ACWA Power consortium is financed by Saudi and international banks, including the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank. The contract was procured as an independent public-private partnership covering the design, construction and operation of the systems providing utilities, accompanied by associated networks and infrastructure.

The Red Sea Project is not investing any of its own capital and is instead committing to purchase its utilities from the consortium for 25 years – with the offtake agreement guarantee being provided by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund, which owns TRSDC.

The Red Sea Project is scheduled to welcome its first guests by the end of 2022, when the Red Sea International Airport and the first of four hotels will open. On completion in 2030, there will be 50 hotels, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms, and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

ACWA Power chairman Mohammad Abunayyan said the initiative was part of the ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ initiative “to showcase the kingdom’s ability to develop ambitious mega projects”.