ACWA Power and Shanghai Electric deepen Belt and Road commitment

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Chinese power company Shanghai Electric has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi peer ACWA Power.

Reuters’ zawya.com Middle Eastern web portal has carried an article that claims Shanghai Electric chairman and CEO Zheng Jianhua signed a co operation agreement with ACWA during a visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

pv magazine has contacted the Saudi power company for more details as neither entity mentions any agreements on their websites.

The report, attributed to prnewswire, states the MoU concerns collaboration on the development of “global clean energy” in nations that have joined China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, which aims to develop a modern iteration of the Silk Road from China to the West.

However, according to the report, those clean energy projects may also include thermal power plants, gas turbine construction and combined cycle power generation as well as PV, wind and solar thermal schemes and desalination installations.

Close ties

The newswire report states Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd and ACWA Power have been working together for a year to advance Saudi Arabia’s plans to generate 30% of the kingdom’s power from renewables within 11 years, under the nation’s 2030 Vision. However, the two entities in September 2017 began jointly developing the 700 MW concentrating solar power plant that makes up the fourth phase of Dubai’s 1 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with the Saudi company later selling a 24.01% stake in the project to China’s Silk Road Fund.

ACWA’s website makes no mention of the Shanghai Electric agreement in a press release about cooperation agreements it signed at last week’s second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Commitments were made with PowerChina, China Gezhouba Group Co and the Bank of China, said ACWA.

Shanghai Electric, which made a foray into solar in February 2016 by acquiring a major stake in German PV equipment maker Manz, made headlines last year when it outlined plans to acquire a 51% stake in the Jiangsu Zhongneng unit of polysilicon manufacturer GCL Poly. With the power company valuing the poly and wafer business – China’s largest polysilicon maker at that point – at RMB25 billion ($3.7 billion), the deal fell victim to the market turbulence caused by the Chinese government’s abrupt decision to rein in public subsidies for PV.