Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

Abu Dhabi's Taqa to have 10 per cent renewables in portfolio by 2030

Exclusive: After a profitable 2018, Taqa will look to pursue new opportunities following its four-year transformation plan

Taqa would focus on developing capacity in the Middle East and Africa, according to AbdulAziz Al Obaidli, vice president of UAE, GCC and India. Reem Mohammed/The National
Taqa would focus on developing capacity in the Middle East and Africa, according to AbdulAziz Al Obaidli, vice president of UAE, GCC and India. Reem Mohammed/The National

Abu Dhabi Energy Company or Taqa will have 10 per cent of its portfolio generated from renewable energy sources by 2030, as it looks to expand its footprint in the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa, according to a senior official.

“We would like to diversify our portfolio and start getting more projects from renewable energy,” AbdulAziz Al Obaidli, vice president of Taqa UAE, GCC and India, told The National in Abu Dhabi.

"Our focus is the GCC countries, Jordan and the sub-Saharan African countries. The reason for this is that we position ourselves as the strategic partner for the governments of the countries we work in."

Taqa, which has utilities regulator Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority as a majority stakeholder, had a profitable 2018 on the back of improved commodity prices. The energy company, which has investments in North America, Europe and Iraq, swung to a Dh153 million profit in the third quarter of 2018, recouping from a loss of Dh194m in the year-earlier period. The company, which is traded on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, also reported a fivefold increase in its 2018 second quarter net profit.

While declining to comment on profit outlook for the last quarter and the upcoming financial year, Mr Al Obaidli noted that the company was realising results of the transformation plan implemented between the years 2014 and 2017.

"After this transformation programme in the last three to four years, it’s time for us to step back in the market and find opportunities, so we are actively now monitoring the market, especially the markets in which we’re active in,” he said.

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Taqa currently has 17GW of installed power capacity, which Mr Al Obaidli said would be increased over the coming years through strategic acquisitions. As part of its strategy to look for opportunities, Taqa is currently eyeing a 200MW power plant in Morocco, added Mr Al Obaidli.

"We supply up to 50 per cent of the power requirements in Morocco and that will be our hub to move towards projects in the region,” he added.

The company was also bullish about growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait due to ongoing privatisation efforts in the countries’ utilities business.

"We have today eight power plants, which all have today water desalination facilities and these are all in the UAE. Today, we're bidding for two opportunities in Kuwait, one in Saudi Arabia and in Oman [and there are] several opportunities of course,” said Mr Al Obaidli.

Last year, Taqa saw gains of Dh86m from the handover of management control of its Indian entity Himachal Sorang Power Limited to Greenko East Coast Power Projects. Taqa will continue to “opportunistically” pursue growth opportunities in the Indian power sector, but it remains committed to its core markets of the Middle East and North and sub-Saharan Africa.

"We don’t have today a clear decision to exit but on a continuous basis we assess the potential exit of non-core assets [to see] if we can bring value and deploy the value somewhere else,” said Mr Al Obaidli.

Updated: January 17, 2019 11:35 AM

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