The signing of the power and water purchase agreement (PWPA) for the long-awaited Mirfa independent water and power project (IWPP) in Abu Dhabi in the first week of July marked the first conclusion of an IWPP deal in 2014, following the award of three private schemes in 2013.

UK/French GDF Suez will develop the Mirfa scheme, holding a 20 per cent equity stake in the scheme, with the remaining 80 per cent held by the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea). The facility will have a power generation capacity of 1,600MW and a 52.5 million imperial-gallon-a-day (MIGD), reverse-osmosis (RO) desalination component.

The conclusion of negotiations for the estimated $1.5bn facility is not only a welcome by the developer market, which has endured a quiet couple of years, but also further strengthens GDF Suez’s position as the largest private developer in the UAE and GCC. Once Mirfa is completed, GDF Suez consortiums will operate a total of 10.4GW of power in the UAE.

In December 2013, a GDF consortium signed the final agreements for the Al-Zour North IWPP in Kuwait, which will have a power generation capacity of 1,500MW and water desalination capacity of 107 MIGD. GDF Suez currently has a direct equity interest in a total regional portfolio of 27GW of power capacity and 5,273,000 cubic metres a day of capacity either under operation or under construction.

The Al-Zour North award followed the early-December signing of the power purchase agreement (PPA) by the local Acwa Power to develop the 2,060MW Rabigh 2 independent power project (IPP) in Saudi Arabia. The Acwa Power consortium and the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) will both hold 50 per cent shares.

The only other private power or water project contract concluded in 2013 was the signing of the Ghubrah independent water project (IWP) in Oman in February. A consortium led by Japan’s Sumitomo will develop the desalination facility, which will have a capacity of 42 MIGD.

While Kuwait, Oman and Dubai are all planning new IWPPs, the only other private scheme likely to be awarded in 2014 is the planned Facility D IWPP in Qatar, which will have a power generation capacity of 2,400MW and a desalination capacity of 130 MIGD. Qatar’s General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa)  received prices from developers in late May, with Japanese consortiums making up three of the four bidders.