Saudi’s ACWA Renewables sells 49% stake to China’s Silk Road Fund


Saudi power company ACWA Power has deepened its already extensive ties with Beijing by selling the Silk Road Fund a 49% stake in renewable energy project arm ACWA Power Renewable Energy Holding Ltd.

A press release issued by the Dubai office of New York PR firm Hill+Knowlton yesterday revealed the planned stake sale, which will see the Silk Road Fund become a majority shareholder in a 1,668 MW portfolio that includes PV, concentrating solar power and wind assets.

The release stated that with the partnership “new doors of collaboration and projects are opening up”.

The tie-up has a geopolitical undertone as it was announced just three days after traditional Saudi ally the U.K. suspended arms sales to the kingdom following a U.K. appeal court decision such sales were unlawful because ministers were making them without heed of the consequences in the civil war in Yemen.

The Silk Road Fund is a state-owned entity responsible for investing in China’s huge One Belt, One Road initiative, which aims to improve infrastructure along the historic silk road route from China across Asia and into southern Europe and Africa.

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Yesterday’s press release stated ACWA Power Renewables will own projects in the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco as well as in South Africa.

ACWA Power Renewables has already worked with the Silk Road Fund on the 950 MW generation capacity, hybrid PV and concentrating solar power fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, with the Chinese state entity taking a 24% stake in ACWA’s work on that phase of the huge solar park.

Yesterday's release added ACWA Renewables parent company ACWA Power had also worked with the Silk Road Fund on the 2.4 GW capacity Hassyan ‘clean coal’ power plant in the UAE.

ACWA has won a string of renewable energy project successes across a burgeoning clean power sector in the Middle East and North Africa, including a 61.3 MW project at Risha in Jordan in December 2017, three projects adding up to 165.5 MW of capacity at Egypt’s mega scale Benban solar park last January, the 200 MW Kom Ombo PV project in Egypt in August, a 70% stake in a 300 MW project at Sakaka in its homeland in November, a 100 MW solar project at Askar in Bahrain in February and as part of a consortium that landed the tender for a 500 MW project in Oman in March.

No details were revealed yesterday of the value of the ACWA Renewables stake sale.

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