Billed as “the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project”, a consortium of developers led by Saudi energy company ACWA Power have this week reached financial close on the Red Sea project, which will include a 340MW solar PV plant paired with a 1.2GWh battery energy storage system.
The Red Sea tourism project has been in development for several years now and will play host to 16 hotels, an international airport, and other necessary infrastructure – though this only represents Phase 1 of the project.
Given its location on the Western coast of Saudi Arabia between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh and consisting of 200km of coastline and an archipelago of 90 islands, volcanoes, desert, and mountains, the Red Sea project will necessarily require it to be entirely off-grid and powered by renewables.
As such, the Red Sea project will be powered by a 340MW solar PV plant with an associated 1.2GWh battery energy storage system (BESS) which, upon completion, is expected to be one of the world’s largest BESS systems.
Designed to meet the needs of Phase 1 of the project, the solar and battery system will also be designed for expansion in line with further development phases.
The consortium of developers behind the $US1,302 billion Red Sea project – who were awarded the contract to develop the Red Sea project back in 2020 – reached financial close by the end of February and currently expect Phase 1 of the project to be operational by the end of 2022.
“The Red Sea Development Project, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, spanning an area the size of Belgium, is a remarkable project in terms of vision, ambition, size and scope that pioneers responsible regenerative tourism, preserving the planet for future generations while enhancing the offering and experience of tourists,” said Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive officer and vice chairman of ACWA Power.
“We’re proud to be the provider of all utility services to the very exacting zero carbon emission, zero waste and zero plastic standards and are delighted to have achieved this milestone on yet another path breaking project that is helping to meet the clean energy ambitions of Vision 2030.
“And most importantly, the commitments from such a diverse group of lenders is a testament to the strength of the vision and structure of this transaction and, above all, underpins the faith and belief that financial markets have in ACWA Power’s track record and in our expertise and capability in delivering large scale projects within the public private partnership framework.”