Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) is set to issue a request for proposals for the planned Taweelah C power and water project by the start of next year.

Taweelah C will be Abu Dhabi’s first steam power plant and, at a capacity of 2,400-2,600MW, it will also be the largest power-generating facility in the emirate.

The plant will have a desalination capacity of 55-60 million gallons a day (g/d) of water.

The plant will initially run on crude oil feedstock with the option of using natural gas at a later stage. This will be contingent on receiving a gas allocation from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

Any gas which Adnoc makes available from its onshore fields in the future is likely to be sour.

“The quality of the gas will be worse [than on previous projects] because of the higher sulphur content,” says a UAE-based contractor.

It is not yet clear whether Adwea will tender the Taweelah C scheme as an independent water and power project (IWPP) or an engineering, procurement and construction contract.

However, industry sources say that with the Shuweihat 2 IWPP due to achieve financial close in mid-October, Taweelah C is likely to also take the form of an IWPP.

Adwea’s recent IWPPs have all followed a uniform model with 1,600MW of power capacity and 100 million g/d of desalination capacity. As steam power plants are more costly to build than combined-cycle projects, it makes sense for Adwea to seek economies of scale by increasing the size of the Taweelah C scheme.

The higher power capacity on the project will also help Abu Dhabi meet growing demand for power from the northern emirates. According to Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company’s latest forecasts, this will rise from 1,425MW in 2009 to 2,832MW by 2012.