Plans for the construction of Sharjah’s first independent power project (IPP) are gathering pace after the selection of a developer for the proposed grassroots plant. To be located in the Hamriyah Free Zone, the project aims to supply the growing number of heavy industries in the zone.

A group led by the UK’s C&C Sonshas been awarded the contract to build the plant, which is expected to have capacity of 500-700 MW. GE Power Systemsof the US is understood to have been selected for the contract to supply four gas turbines. It is not clear whether the project will be operated by the consortium. The UK’s Mott MacDonaldis the consultant.

The new power plant will use gas feedstock to be supplied by Crescent National Gas Company, a subsidiary of Crescent Petroleum Company, which in Julyagreed to supply natural gas to the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) in a deal worth about $245 million. The gas transmission system will have capacity of 1,000 million cubic feet of gas a day, with deliveries due to begin by the first quarter of 2006.

Muscat-based Oman Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Company (OCPC)has already signed an estimated $200 million agreement to build a 1.2 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ammonia and urea plant in the free zone, while Saudi Arabia’s Al-Tuwairqi Group (ATG)is planning to set up a steel complex (see Industry). The free zone covers an area of 10 million square metres and has a 14-metre-deep port with three berths and a pontoon facility. It houses about 850 companies.

The involvement of the private sector in power projects in the federation follows a long-running programme to privatise Abu Dhabi’s generation capacity. The programme has seen the addition of about 5,760 MW of generation capacity and 394 million gallons a day of desalination capacity since 2001 through the construction of four independent water and power projects (IWPPs).