China’s Silk Road Fund has acquired a 49% stake in ACWA Power Renewable Energy Holding, which currently owns a number of existing renewable energy projects.
ACWA Power is a developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water plants with 53 assets in operation, construction or advanced development across 11 countries. While the Silk Road Fund is a medium-to-long term development and investment fund established in Beijing under the framework of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.
ACWA Power and the Silk Road Fund have previously co-invested in two UAE-based projects, including the 2400MW Hassyan clean coal power plant, and the 950MW Hybrid CSP and PV fourth phase of the MBR Solar Park, to respectively power 1.3 million people and 320,00 residential homes.
Renewable energy projects are gaining momentum across the region. According to a report by PwC’s Strategy&, investments in renewable energy in the GCC could hit $16 billion by 2020, compared to less than $1 billion in 2016.
The report also showed that the GCC has several factors making rapid deployment of renewables an attractive opportunity, including plentiful, high-yield renewable resources, a natural gas shortage, and an established independent power plant (IPP) model, which makes cheap, long-term project finance available to attract the necessary private and foreign investors.
The region has some of the highest solar exposures in the world. Solar power plants in the GCC can expect 1,750 to 1,930 hours of full-load operation per year.