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Waste to energy in the Middle East

    • Energy and infrastructure


    The region’s first integrated solid waste treatment facility came into operation in 2011 in Qatar. This is designed to treat up to 2,300 tonnes of mixed solid waste and includes a 34 MW waste to energy facility. There have been limited developments since this time, but during the course of this year a number of new waste management and waste-to-energy projects have been announced in the Middle East. 

    The Kuwait Partnerships Technical Bureau in collaboration with the Kuwait Municipality has recently invited interested international and regional companies to submit an expression of interest for a solid waste to energy project (“project”) in the Kabd area, 25 km away from Kuwait city. The project will be procured as a design, build, operate, finance and transfer structure in accordance with the PPP Law (Law No. 7 of 2008 regulating public private partnerships). The project site will cover an area of 500,000 m². The objectives of the project include diversion from landfill, generation of renewable energy, minimising water usage and recycling. The facility is expected to contribute to the modernisation of Kuwait’s integrated municipal solid waste system by improving its economic, environmental and social performance.

    The scope of the project is to design, build, finance, operate and transfer a waste to energy facility with an initial design capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day. The electricity generated by the facility will be purchased by the Ministry of Electricity and Water through a power purchase agreement. The term of the contract with the Kuwait Municipality for the project is expected to be 25 years in addition to four-year design and construction period.

    Apart from Kuwait, other countries in the Middle East have also looked to waste to energy projects to fulfil similar objectives. For example, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (“TAQA”) has earlier this year invited companies to submit qualifications for Abu Dhabi’s first waste-to-energy plant and Abu Dhabi’s Centre for Waste Management is known to be looking at similar schemes. The waste-to-energy power plant will be procured under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and will receive approximately 1,000,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a year. It is expected to produce 100 megawatts of power, enough energy to power more than 20,000 households in Abu Dhabi. The plant is expected to begin operations in 2016/17. The Government of Jordan, through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, also sought expressions of interest in June this year from qualified investors for investment in solid waste to energy projects in accordance with the existing policies and regulations for renewable energy. Only domestic waste generated in Jordan can  be treated in the plant.  

    Similarly in Dubai, the emirate’s first clean energy project has recently been launched, using methane gas from a waste landfill site in Al Qusais to produce electricity. The project, between Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability and Dubai Municipality, will pave the way for reducing the emirates CO² emissions.  Egypt is also known to be carrying out pre-feasibility studies for waste-to-energy projects.

    Eversheds is actively involved in the waste sector in the Middle East and globally. We act across all stages of a waste project and represent the public sector, private sector, lenders and sponsors in waste projects.