Saudi Arabia’s ALJ Energy Targets India to Mexico for Renewables

  • Almar Water Solutions unit targets $1 billion in projects
  • ‘Great interest’ in Saudi Arabia renewables: ALJ Energy CEO

Saudi Arabia’s Abdul Latif Jameel Co., involved in everything from car imports to real estate, is expanding its renewable energy business as nations seek to curb their use of oil and natural gas.

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy won an award to build a 100-megawatt solar plant in India and will tender in Oman for an energy program that could add 200 megawatts, Chief Executive Officer Roberto de Diego said in an interview in Abu Dhabi. It’s also working on financing 300 megawatts of capacity in Mexico, and opened a U.S. office this year, he said.

Saudi Arabia announced renewable energy targets this month, boosting prospects for wind and solar developers. The amount of wind and solar energy connected to power grids around the world gained 19 percent last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s in part because costs have declined for photovoltaic panels and wind turbines.

“We’re not waiting for the Saudi program,” de Diego said. “We will be participating in the Saudi program with great interest. But each program in each market has its different timings and that’s the advantage of us being in many markets.”

ALJ Energy is involved in 4.8 gigawatts of renewable energy projects, about 50 percent higher than in 2015 when it acquired a Spanish renewables developer, de Diego said. The company has also bid to build two solar power plants in Saudi Arabia with total generating capacity of 100 megawatts, he said.

The company’s Almar Water Solutions unit started this month and aims to have stakes in $1 billion of desalination and treatment plants, he said. That’s in line with the value of the company’s renewable energy projects. The company will invest less than that since most of the projects will be financed through debt, he said.

ALJ Energy is also working with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., the emirate’s clean-energy developer known as Masdar, to build an 800-megawatt solar plant in Dubai. The companies hope to complete financing on the project by the end of March, de Diego said, declining to give a figure.

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