Adwea selects advisers for 350 megawatt solar park in Abu Dhabi

Advisers have been chosen for the 350 megawatt solar park in Abu Dhabi announced last year, according to industry insiders.

The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) has selected its financial, legal and technical advisers for the project to be built in Sweihan, about an hour’s drive east of the capital.

The US-based lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has been chosen as the legal adviser. Alderbrook Finance will take the lead as financial adviser, and Fichtner Consulting Engineering as technical adviser.

Fichtner, a German company, is involved in Dubai’s solar project.

For the financial role, the big four financial advisers – Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG – were edged out by a boutique firm.

That company, Alderbrook, is led by Bill Appleby, the former Citigroup head of project finance in Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He confirmed the appointment.

Mr Appleby had a hand in Saudi Electricity Company’s independent power producer (IPP) programme, which used the same scheme that the Sweihan project will operate under. In addition, Mr Appleby helped the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) to develop several solar projects.

The legal adviser, Akin, has been involved in many solar projects but none outside the Americas, according to its website.

Fichtner and Akin could not be reached for comment this morning.

The Sweihan solar park is to produce enough electricity to power more than 50,000 homes with Adwea paying only for the net electricity energy supplied by the plant. The utility is to own 60 per cent of the project with the developer (which has yet to be selected) having the remaining stake.

This will be Adwea’s first foray into the solar sector, and many companies are lining up to get a chunk including regional companies such as Masdar and the Saudi companies Acwa Power and Abdul Latiff Jameel.​

lgraves@thenational.ae

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