By Roba Aljohani
The Red Sea Development Company has awarded a contract to a consortium led by ACWA Power to handle its utilities infrastructure, a move which strengthens its groundbreaking approach to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
As the world seeks to satisfy the rising demand for reliable and affordable power and water, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) remains committed to being at the forefront of the global energy transition.
In a move which reaffirmed this commitment, TRSDC awarded its highest-value contract to date to a consortium led by ACWA Power, a leading Saudi developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water plants, to design, build, operate and transfer The Red Sea Project’s (TRSP) utilities’ infrastructure.
The Kingdom has stated that it is committed to carbon neutrality and that it wants to derive 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030
The contract, TRSDC’s first public-private partnership (PPP), focuses exclusively on environmentally responsible renewable energy, water production, wastewater treatment and district cooling.
When the agreement was awarded in November 2020, John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC, said that the contract was a significant move forward for the project. “This contract signifies a noteworthy step change for us as the consortium brings foreign investment to the project, demonstrating international support and confidence for the vision that is becoming a reality along the Red Sea coast. At the same time, we are delighted to partner with a consortium leader that has its roots in the Kingdom and shares our ambition to accelerate the energy transition locally,” said Mr Pagano.
The commendable strategy will power TRSP’s utility services with clean, renewable energy sources. Importantly, the strategy includes the early adoption of emerging energy solutions, a prominent example being biofuels.
Transportation is one of the main challenges the world is facing in the transition to sustainable development. In order to overcome this hurdle, in May 2021, ACWA Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Neutral Fuels, the GCC’s largest biofuel producer, to supply TRSP’s entire transportation network with its Net Zero Biofuel.
Neutral Fuels has pioneered 100% pure compliant biofuel for use in all types of diesel engines, cutting the damaging greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. No engine modifications are necessary, so any transportation fleet can make the switch overnight.
TRSP is projected to prevent an estimated 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year
A tourism project of TRSP’s size, powered solely by renewable energy, has never been achieved on such a scale anywhere in the world. The sustainable and regenerative ambitions of the impressive project mirror the commitment that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is making to renewable energy. Saudi Vision 2030 is working towards a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. To achieve this, it has made sustainability key on the agenda. The Kingdom has stated that it is committed to carbon neutrality and that it wants to derive 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030. Thus, the Kingdom is not just minimizing harm; it is actively reducing its dependence on fossil oil and enhancing the environment as it contributes to sustaining and regenerating it for years to come.
TRSP is projected to prevent an estimated 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year. Opting for clean, green renewable fuel is an enormous support towards this aim as it immediately reduces transport carbon emissions to zero.
A sustainability fleet modelling project by global consulting firm, Mott Macdonald, determined TRSP’s transport requirements. The consultants conducted a Demand Modelling project based on data that included the journey time, capacities, demands, frequencies, and operational hours of TRSP’s fleet.
The resulting figures provided the Capital Expenditures (CapEx) and Operating Expenses (OpEx), determining infrastructure needs, charging stations and power requirements.
Neutral Fuels has pioneered 100% pure compliant biofuel for use in all types of diesel engines, cutting the damaging greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change
Mott Macdonald’s recommendations for the first phase of the development were that battery electric vehicles should replace land vehicles and marine vessels and aim for hybrid application – with some being battery or electric operated over short distances.
TRSDC is not investing any of its own capital and is instead committing to purchase its utilities from the ACWA Power consortium for the next 25 years. The collaboration bolsters TRSDC’s dedication to setting new standards in sustainable development by keeping regeneration as a key priority. TRSDC’s strong investment in renewables is helping to set new global standards in regenerative tourism.