Saudi Arabia has invited consultants to submit proposals for the financial advisory role on its first independent water project (IWP).

The proposed IWP will be powered mainly by solar energy, according to sources close to the project.

The Saudi Water and Electricity Company (WEC), a joint venture of state utilities Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), is the client for the proposed scheme.

While the kingdom has previously developed cogeneration independent water and power projects (IWPPs), the plant will be the kingdom’s first IWP.

MEED reported in January that the kingdom’s desalinated water provider, SWCC, was planning to move back towards implementing projects in partnership with the private sector under the IWPP model, having favoured standard engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts in recent years.

Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi on 20 January, Abdulrahman al-Ibrahim, governor, SWCC, said that the government remained committed to the ambitious development programme planned, but that “tactics” of delivering will change to suit the current economic climate of lower-priced oil.

The world’s largest desalination company is planning to oversee the development of SR112bn ($30bn) of new desalination plants and water transmission pipelines over the next 15 years.

According to SWCC, demand for water reached almost 5.7 per cent a year between 2010 and 2015, more than double the population growth of 2.6-2.7 per cent.

The planned IWP will also fall under the kingdom’s plans to develop a significant renewable energy capacity. In its Vision 2030 plan, unveiled in April, Riyadh set out a target to develop 9.5Gw of renewable energy. The kingdom has since revealed it has set an initial renewable energy target of 3.5GW by 2020.