The Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (Sewa) is considering overseeing the development of an independent power project (IPP).

According to sources with knowledge of the scheme, the utility is in discussions with a group containing Japan’s Sumitomo and US’ GE about the possibility developing an IPP in the emirate. The IPP proposal was made by the consortium has been made following a lack of progress with the previously tendered EPC package to expand the capacity of the existing Hamriyah power station.

The upgrade is part of Sharjah’s plans to boost domestic power capacity to deal with growing demand. The emirate has become increasingly reliant on electricity imports from neighbouring Abu Dhabi in recent years.

Sharjah’s imports increased sharply from 184MW in 2008 to 707MW by 2011. In 2016, Sewa imported up to 2,407MW from Abu Dhabi at peak periods.

Abu Dhabi stepped up its electricity exports to Sharjah in 2011, after the emirate suffered some of the worst power cuts seen in the Gulf in 2009 and 2010.

Sewa has struggled to get its own power projects off the ground in recent years. In May 2016, Sewa received commercial proposals Bidders for the contract to expand and convert the existing Hamriyah power plant to a combined-cycle facility. The conversion project was planned to boost the capacity of the plant by 750MW.

However, the contract was never awarded. According to sources close to the scheme, this was believed to be due budgetary constraints.

The expansion scheme had been at the planning stage for some time, but faced delays as Sewa sought budgetary approval.

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