Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has invited companies to prequalify for the contract to build the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant.

Contractors have until 15 April to submit prequalification entries for the estimated $850m project. Taqa expects to award the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The waste-to-energy power plant will receive approximately 1 million tonnes of municipal solid waste a year and convert it into 100MW of alternative power, which will be enough to power more than 20,000 households in Abu Dhabi.

The request for prequalification follows the completion of a pre-feasibility study and the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Centre of Waste Management Abu Dhabi for the joint development of the facility in June 2012.

Taqa will operate the plant and will finance the scheme through a combination of equity and commercial debt.

The waste-to-energy plant is the latest renewable energy scheme that Abu Dhabi is pressing ahead with. The Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant is scheduled to begin operation on 17 March.

The Shams 1 plant will extend over an area of 2.5 square kilometres with a capacity of 100MW, making it one of the largest CSP plants in the world. The renewable power plant is being developed under a 25-year build, own and operate (BOO) contract, with a construction cost of about $600m.

The plant has been developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), which has a 60 per cent stake in the project, Spain’s Abengoa Solar and France’s Total, which both have 20 per cent stakes.

Neighbouring emirate Dubai is also pushing ahead with some ambitious renewable energy schemes. In October last year, US-based First Solar was awarded the estimated AED124m ($34m) contract to build the first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract involves building a 13MW photovoltaic plant. The project will be Dubai’s largest solar power scheme, eclipsing the combined capacity of all the other solar projects in the emirate. Dubai currently has about 4.5MW of installed solar power capacity. The largest project is at Meydan and has a capacity of 750kW. Other projects are located at Jebel Ali and the Palm Jumeirah.