Padmanathan: new vision

Padmanathan: new vision

Acwa Power plans $35bn projects spend

The Saudi group is set to enter newer territories as part of its new growth strategy

March 2019

Saudi-based Acwa Power announced plans to boost its water desalination and power generation capacity and grow two-fold over the next five years with investments estimated at $35 billion.

Acwa Power is the fastest growing power and water developer in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), with operations in three continents, providing reliable power at low cost.

As part of its new growth strategy, the Saudi group is set to enter newer territories, said its top official.

“We have already chalked out our next plan of action which will see Acwa Power enter 25 countries in a big way by 2025,” remarked President and CEO Paddy Padmanathan.

He was speaking at the recent World Future Energy Summit (WFES) held as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

During the event, Acwa Power cemented its position as a leading sustainability enabler in the region by shedding light on solutions to solving the world’s energy and water challenges.

Highlighting the world’s underestimation of the paradigm shift that renewable energy is capable of delivering, Padmanathan said: “Electricity has always been driven by fossil fuels. Although constantly fluctuating, 75 per cent of the cost of electricity generation is from fossil fuel. For the first time, we have the capacity to use the power of the sun and wind at no fuel cost and price oscillation.”

Therefore, we are able to generate electricity and fix prices for the next 25 to 35 years by spending money upfront and collecting it back overtime,” he stated.

Padmanathan pointed out that fixed costs play an extremely important role in the future of renewable energy deployment.

Stemming from its commitment to provide power and water to the region, and its contribution towards the Saudi Vision 2030, Acwa Power also highlighted its growing efforts in the kingdom to utilise renewable energy as the primary resource to generate power and facilitate the entry of local investors and developers to the Saudi market to ignite the renewables growth.

“Renewable energy remains the most competitive form of power generation in the GCC due to lower costs; economic diversification to supply demand; and the region’s commitment to diversify energy sources,” he added.



The company signed deals with Chinese entities, Silk Road Fund and Huawei, to lay the ground for collaboration in further investments and technological advancements of power generation and water desalination plants being developed and operated by the Saudi group.

Acwa Power already has well-established relationships with several Chinese companies. It had rolled out a centralised control and monitoring pilot project that implemented Huawei’s Fusion Solar solution for enhanced plant management, monitoring and control, last January.

The company’s growing relationships with major Chinese entities is a reflection of the strong and friendly ties between the two countries, said Acwa Power Chairman Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan after signing the MoU with Silk Road Fund CEO Wang Yanzhi in the presence of Prince Mohammed and Vice Premier of State Council of China
Han Zheng.

“As a leading developer of power and water assets in the region committed to reducing cost and investing in several countries within the Belt and Road initiative corridor, we have the unique position of being able to support the economic transformation envisioned by both; the ambitious and collaborative Belt and Road initiative as well as Saudi Arabia’s forward-looking and iconic Vision 2030,” he noted.

“We look forward to playing a vital role in both these national agendas which complement each other,” he added.

Under the agreement, the Silk Road Fund will partner with the company to invest in Acwa Power Renewable Energy Holding Ltd in Belt and Road countries including South Africa, UAE, Jordan and Egypt.

Following the first signing, at the Saudi China Investment and Cooperation Forum (Future Forward Partnerships), ACWA Power also entered into an agreement with Huawei, a leading global ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and energy network solutions provider.

The two companies will be collaborating on utilising ICT to increase efficiency and improve performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects owned and operated by ACWA Power including the Sakaka PV IPP, the first utility scale solar plant in Saudi Arabia. The collaboration also extends to digitalisation of power plant management.

Acwa Power President Paddy Padmanathan said: “Over the last few years we have been privileged to work with an increasing number of Chinese investors, financial service providers, technology providers and EPC contractors on our rapidly expanding portfolio and we are eager to nurture and expand these very successful collaborations.”

“The synergies created through these agreements will allow us to maintain our cost leadership reputation creating immense value to the ultimate beneficiaries of the electricity and desalinated water we provide – the people of the countries we invest in,” he added.

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