SWCC plans 3 solar-powered desal plants

SWCC plans 3 solar-powered desal plants
Updated 04 October 2012

SWCC plans 3 solar-powered desal plants

SWCC plans 3 solar-powered desal plants

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) will establish three new solar-powered desalination plants, said Abdul Rahman Al-Ibrahim, governor of the corporation. “We are reducing dependence on oil and using alternative energy sources to run our plants,” he added.
Two solar-powered desalination plants are currently operating in Al-Khafji and Jubail, and we are planning to establish three more such plants in Haqel, Dhuba and Farasan.
“These solar-powered desalination plants are established to support oil- and gas-powered stations, and we have plans to establish similar plants inside the existing desalination complexes,” he said.
Al-Ibrahim reported big progress on the desalination plant being constructed in Ras Al-Khair on the Arabian Gulf coast, adding it would be ready within two years.
“Electricity production at the Ras Al-Khair plant will start in April 2013, while desalination water production in 2014,” the governor said. About 55 percent of work on the project has been completed, he pointed out.
He said the application of new technology would enable the corporation to save a lot of energy. “For example, Yanbu-3 plant can save 5 million barrels of oil annually,” he added.
Al-Ibrahim described the Shuaiba complex with four plants as the largest in the world, supplying 1.6 million cubic meters of water daily.
SWCC is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water, accounting for 18 percent of total global output and 41 percent of the total production of GCC states.
The corporation also supplies 5,000 megawatts of electricity, or 9 percent of the Kingdom’s total power production.
Al-Ibrahim highlighted SWCC’s preparedness for the upcoming Haj season. “We’ll work around the clock to ensure adequate supply of water to Makkah and other holy sites,” he said, adding that Jeddah and Taif would not face any water shortage during this Haj season.
Speaking about new plants, he said Shuaiba-4 would supply an additional 240,000 cubic meters of water to Jeddah, while the Ras Al-Khair plant would pump a million cubic meters of water to Riyadh. Yanbu-3 will supply 550,000 cubic meters.
Al-Ibrahim emphasized the government’s plan to privatize the corporation to improve its efficiency and increase production. “The privatization plan is with the Supreme Economic Council. No time schedule has been given for the process.”
The governor said total investment in SWCC plants reached more than SR 60 billion. “We have established strategic water storage that can meet water needs of the country for two weeks, even if all plants stop working,” he said.