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Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and GDF Suez have reached financial close for the Mirfa Independent Water and Power Project (Mirfa IWPP) in Abu Dhabi, with ADWEA holding an 80% equity interest in the project, and the remaining 20% held by GDF Suez.

In addition, the water and electricity that will be produced by the Mirfa plant will be sold to Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (ADWEC) under a power and water purchase agreement (PWPA) for a 25-year period.

Located 120km from Abu Dhabi city, the Mirfa plant project is the emirate's tenth facility to be built under the public-private partnership IWPP model. The project will involve the acquisition of certain existing water and power facilities and the development, design, engineering and construction of new power and water facilities, as well as the operation of the plant.

When finished, and with the existing and new facilities fully integrated, Mirfa IWPP will have a total power capacity of 1,600 MW and a seawater desalination capacity of 52.5 MIGD (238,665 m3/day). The total investment cost of the project is approximately $1.5bn, funded by a mix of debt and equity.

Commenting on the project, ADWEA's director general, H.E. Faris Obaid Al Dhaheri, said, “The Mirfa project reflects the wise vision of the Government of Abu Dhabi and its continued support for the power and water sector, and it is an important addition to the sector, and once completed, will play a key role in delivering power and water competitively to meet Abu Dhabi's growing electricity and water demand.”

Lucas Hautvast, CEO and president of GDF Suez Energy South Asia, Middle East & Africa, said, “GDF Suez entered the UAE in 2000 and Mirfa is our sixth major development in the country. We take pride in being considered a partner for ADWEA and we remain committed to delivering the electricity and water that the emirate of Abu Dhabi needs to sustain its economic growth.”

The signing of the financing agreements marks the start of construction of the project. GDF SUEZ has selected a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, a consortium comprising Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd and Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd. from Korea and Ansaldo Energia SpA from Italy.

Degremont, a subsidiary of SUEZ Environnement, will be responsible for the new seawater reverse osmosis (RO) facility as a subcontractor to the EPC contractor. Commercial operation of the project is expected to commence on a phased basis between 2016 and 2017. A fully-owned subsidiary of GDF Suez will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the power plant.

GDF Suez currently operates five of the ADWEA power and water plants in the UAE, which include Al Taweelah A1, Shuweihat S1, Umm Al Nar, Fujairah F2 and Shuweihat S2.