Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power to enter China next year, CEO Arcelli says

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power Co plans to begin operations in China starting next year, as it eyes expansion into countries looking to boost exposure to renewable technologies, Chief Executive Officer Marco Piero Arcelli said in an interview.

The Riyadh-based water and power services specialist is setting up the move as part of a global expansion plan running through 2030, the CEO said at the Ambrosetti business forum in Cernobbio, Italy, over the weekend.

The push into China and other Asian markets will focus on developing desalinization plants, along with power plants producing green hydrogen and renewable energy from solar and wind energy, he said.

“We’re planning to boost investments in the Asia-Pacific region, where our expertise is required,” Arcelli said. “In Europe we are looking at building partnerships and getting European companies to work with us, as well as setting up operations in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Arcelli took over as CEO after the retirement of Paddy Padmanathan, who led the company for 18 years as it became Saudi Arabia’s top renewables firm and completed a $1.2 billion initial public offering in 2021.

Acwa is a key part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to neutralize its carbon emissions by 2060.

The firm, with a market capitalization of around $37 billion, is expanding across Asia, notably through agreements in Bangladesh to build the country’s largest solar project and in Indonesia for a green hydrogen and ammonia plant.

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