The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has finalised its utilities deal with a consortium led by ACWA Power.
The milestone confirms the development as the largest tourism project in the world set to be powered solely by renewable energy.
The consortium led by ACWA Power has secured its financing to design, build and operate the utilities infrastructure for 25 years, after which the operations are to be transferred back to TRSDC.
This includes providing 100 per cent renewable power, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The consortium will also provide potable water, wastewater treatment, solid waste management, district cooling, telecommunication and data services across the destination spanning an area the size of Belgium.
“Today, our determination to show the world that tourism development can be done in a regenerative way reaches a new stage.
“By choosing not to connect to the national grid and create our own supply of energy, we are guaranteeing that The Red Sea Project will be a self-sustaining, 100 percent renewable tourism destination,” said John Pagano, chief executive of TRSDC.
The utilities are provided through a concession agreement, with TRSDC committing to be the sole recipient of services for the next 25 years.
A consortium led by ACWA Power and made up of both local and international investors will deliver on the contract.
Financing comes from a mix of Saudi and international banks, including the Standard Chartered Bank and China’s Silk Road Fund.
Initial assets will be delivered by December next year with the balance coming online throughout 2023, delivering a total generating capacity circa 407 MWp of Solar PV power for phase one.
By completion, the destination will have the infrastructure in place to generate up to up to 760,000 MWh of renewable energy per year.
The power generation assets will also include the world’s largest battery storage facility of 1,000 MWh, allowing the destination to remain powered by renewables day and night.
This will create a saving of at least half a million tons of CO2 each year that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere.
All of the utility services will be delivered under a single agreement, unique for a contract of this kind.
This integrated contract will also require the development of three seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants, which will provide 32,500m3 of clean water to the destination each day and a wastewater treatment facility.
It will take an innovative approach by using treated waste to create new wetland habitats thus supporting TRSDC in delivering its ambition of enhancing key natural habitats that encourage biodiversity to flourish and the sequestration of carbon.
“As the world grapples with the serious consequences of climate change, it is now mission-critical for nations to develop practical and tangible solutions to achieve net-zero targets.
“The Red Sea Project, the world’s first regenerative tourism project, is an outstanding example of sustainability and environmental stewardship, limiting environmental impact through the provision of zero-carbon emitting utility services all without compromising our quality of life.
“As another first, in addition to zero carbon emission and zero waste and plastics, all of the utilities for this off grid location will be delivered by ACWA Power under a single agreement, unique for a contract of this kind,” said Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive of ACWA Power.