Saudi Arabia’s Shuaibah Water and Electricity Company (SWEC) has started commercial operations at its Shuaibah independent water and power project.

The steam-powered project was built by Germany’s Siemens Energy and South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company. It has an installed capacity of 900MW and a seawater desalination plant, which will produce approximately 880,000 cubic metres a day of drinking water for the cities of Mecca, Jeddah, Taif and Al Baha.

SWEC is owned by the local Public Investment Fund, which holds a 32 per cent stake in the company, Saudi Malaysian Water & Electricity Company, a 60 per cent stakeholder, and Saudi Electric Company, with a 8 per cent shareholding.

Saudi Arabia’s populations is forecast to almost double to 40 million by 2024. New power plants with a combined capacity of at least 3,000MW will be required annually to meet the projected increase in power demand. The kingdom is making significant investments in the expansion of capacities for power and drinking water supply.