ACWA Power and Tunisia sign MoU for major green hydrogen project - GulfToday

ACWA Power and Tunisia sign MoU for major green hydrogen project


Top officials during the signing ceremony.

Saudi-listed ACWA Power, the world’s largest private water desalination company, leader in energy transition and first mover into green hydrogen, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tunisian Government represented by the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy to explore the potential for a project that would produce up to 600,000 tonnes per year of green hydrogen in three phases, for export to Europe.

The agreement was signed by Fatma Thabet Chiboub, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy in Tunisia, and Marco Arcelli, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power.

ACWA Power would develop, operate and maintain 12GW of renewable energy electricity generation units including storage systems and transmission lines, along with water desalination plant, electrolyzers and infrastructures to connect to the main pipeline. The first phase would involve installing 4GW of renewable energy units, 2GW of electrolyser capacity, as well as battery storage facilities, to produce 200,000 tonnes per year of green hydrogen. The green hydrogen production is aimed to be exported through the South2 Corridor, a hydrogen pipeline initiative led by European TSOs and identified as Project of Common Interest by the EU, connecting Tunisia to Italy, Austria and Germany.

Commenting on the announcement, Ouael Chouchene, Secretary of State for Energy Transition, said: “This project aligns perfectly with the Tunisian Government’s national green hydrogen strategy released in October 2023, which targets an annual production of 8.3 million tons of green hydrogen and byproducts by 2050. We are confident that this agreement with ACWA Power will leverage Tunisia’s strengths, including its strategic geographic location, existing infrastructure, and skilled workforce, to create a more sustainable future for the country.”

The project intends to play an integral role in supporting Tunisia’s National Strategy for the Development of Green Hydrogen and its Derivatives, which was launched in October 2023. The strategy includes an action plan for exporting more than 6 million tonnes of green hydrogen to Europe by 2050.

Marco Arcelli, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, said: “We are excited to work with the Tunisian Government on this visionary project, bringing our expertise in renewables, desalination and green hydrogen to build a bridge with Europe to help reach its decarbonization targets. This project can also contribute significantly to economic growth, job creation, and sustainable energy solutions, exemplifying our shared vision for a greener future.”

The agreement marks ACWA Power’s ambition to rapidly expand its green hydrogen portfolio. Construction is well underway at the NEOM Green Hydrogen Project, a joint venture between ACWA Power, Air Products, and NEOM to create the world’s first utility-scale green hydrogen plant, capable of producing 1.2 million tonnes of green ammonia per year.

Work is also underway on ACWA Power’s second green hydrogen project, located in Uzbekistan. The first phase of this project will be capable of producing 3,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, with the intention to expand to a second phase.

ACWA Power is a Saudi-listed company and the world’s largest private water desalination company, the first mover into green hydrogen, and a leader in energy transition. Registered and established in 2004 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, ACWA Power employs over 3,700 people and is currently present in 13 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. ACWA Power’s portfolio comprises 82 projects in operation, advanced development, or construction with an investment value of SAR 321.3 billion ($85.7 billion), and the capacity to generate 55.1 GW of power and manage 8 million m3/day of desalinated water per day, delivered on a bulk basis to address the needs of state utilities and industries on long term, off-taker contracts under utility services outsourcing and Public-Private-Partnership models.

Saudi-listed ACWA Power signed recently a $4.85 billion Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan for Central Asia’s largest wind farm -- the Aral 5GW Wind Independent Power Producer (IPP) project in the Karakalpakstan region. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Al Saud, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during a ceremony inaugurating two of ACWA Power’s ongoing projects in the country: the 1.5GW Sirdarya CCGT plant and the first 100MW phase of the Riverside solar plant in the Tashkent region.

As ACWA Power’s 15th project in Uzbekistan, Aral Wind IPP solidifies the company’s strong commitment to providing the renewable energy needed to meet the Central Asian country’s ambitious aims to have 40% of its energy mix provided by renewables by 2030. Uzbekistan is ACWA Power’s largest market after its home country of Saudi Arabia, and this latest project brings its total investment in the country to $13.9 billion.

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