Dubai Municipality has set a deadline of 19 December for bids to build a waste-to-energy plant in the emirate.

The request for proposals (RFP) was issued on 31 May, with submissions to be entered by September. Several requests to extend the deadline were made and the municipality said that it would pus back the cut off date (MEED 21:6:10).

A total of 14 companies have been prequalified to bid for the contract. More than 500 companies requested the qualification documents, according to Rashed Karkain, head of the technical support and studies section of Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Department. Of these firms, 28 submitted applications, half of which were prequalified by the Municipality.

The project is to be built at a site in Al-Warsan and will be able to process about 6,500 tonnes a day of waste

The bids will be assessed against a matrix that allows for submissions that include only the waste incineration aspect of the project, as well as bids that outline proposals for the collection and incineration of the waste.

Contractors will be able to submit proposals to build the project on a build-own-transfer (BOT) or turnkey basis. Under the BOT model, the selected company will operate the project for 25 years after construction.

Bidders are asked to demonstrate their ability to finance the project in their bid – either as a pure-equity financing or bank commitments if structured as a project finance transaction. French consultant Cabinet Merlin is advising Dubai Municipality on the tender.

Start-up of the project is planned for 2012, but this date may change depending on the chosen technology and contract type. The project is to be built at a site in Al-Warsan and will be able to process about 6,500 tonnes a day of waste. Domestic waste will be sourced from across the emirate for use at the plant. The UAE has one of the highest waste generation rates in the world.

According to Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, “The phenomenal growth Dubai is experiencing has brought with it an increase in the amount of waste being generated in the city. With just 1,046,404 tonnes of municipal solid waste collected in 2000, it increased by an average of almost 20 per cent annually, reaching 3,746,509 tonnes in 2009.

“With these issues, pressure is mounted on the city’s waste management system, from the point of view of collecting the waste, the way it will be treated [resource recovery or recycling] and disposal.”