Stock - TAQA Group CEO and Managing Director Jasim Husain Thabet scaled
TAQA Group CEO and Managing Director Jasim Husain Thabet Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Latest revenues at Dh34 billion plus and net profit at Dh4.3 billion – and yet, you get the feeling Abu Dhabi utility giant TAQA is only getting started.

That’s because the full benefits of last year’s merger with ADPower is still coming through – and those potential gains in the making are nothing short of substantial. The TAQA (otherwise known as Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.) and ADPower merger play was a bold move by Abu Dhabi, as it sought to create a power and water company fit-to-purpose not just for the emirate but be among the Top 10 in the wider region.

Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO, talk to ‘Gulf News’ on how TAQA intends to get to those exalted rankings.

You are working to a strategy unveiled last March. What’s the actual progress been like since?

TAQA is in a stronger position because of the (ADPower) transaction completed last year. Our new strategy sets us on a path to become a champion of low carbon power and water in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

In the UAE, we signed two MoUs for the development of green hydrogen. The first with Abu Dhabi Ports sets out how we will work to develop a 2GW green ammonia production facility combining renewable electricity and low-carbon water to enable green hydrogen to be turned into green ammonia.

The green ammonia can be burned in ships’ engines as a cleaner alternative to heavy fuel oil. It can also be transported by ship to markets where there is fast growing demand for green hydrogen.

The second MoU - with Emirates Steel - sets out to develop a large-scale green hydrogen project enabling the first green steel to be produced in the MENA region and exported.

We are supporting Abu Dhabi to be a green hydrogen hub in which TAQA will be a major player. We have the key expertise of utility-scale and low-cost solar PV and desalinated water expertise - two critical elements for green hydrogen. And we have exclusivity rights to power and water projects in the Emirate for the next decade.

But you have these fairly massive operations overseas too…

Internationally, we announced a partnership with Marubeni Corporation to develop a greenfield cogeneration power and water desalination project for Saudi Aramco facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Tanajib Cogeneration and Desalination Project will have a net capacity of 940 megawatts (MW) of power generation, 1,084 tons per hour of steam and 5.25 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) of desalinated water gross capacity (net capacity: 4.3 MIGD).

We will also have a 40 per cent stake in the operations and maintenance (O&M) company servicing the plant.

The latest financials will have given some boost to your plans?

We are delivering strong and consistent results. We are the first company in the UAE to have a quarterly dividend policy, and successfully completed a $1.5 billion 7-year and 30-year dual-tranche bond offering earlier this year. It was dual-listed in Taipei and London with a lot of interest from foreign investors.

We are also working on our first ESG report, which will be published later this year, a promise we made at the time we announced our strategy.

Are all your divisions pitching in on the growth story?

In our 2030 Strategy, we have outlined our ambitions to become the recognized low carbon power and water champion of Abu Dhabi through growth, optimization and capability building.

On the generation side of the business, we want to increase our UAE capacity from 18GW to 30GW and add up to 15 GW internationally. We will focus on clean technologies, and renewables – with a particular focus on solar photovoltaic (PV) technology - to make up more than 30 per cent of our power generation portfolio by 2030.

We also want to expand the highly efficient reverse osmosis (RO) technologies to make up two-thirds of our desalination capacity by this time. We are also committed to growing our capabilities in O&M and see this as a growth opportunity.

In transmission and distribution, it is important to ensure we have the network capacity and the best infrastructure to meet demand TAQA has committed to investing an additional Dh40 billion by 2030 to grow our UAE ‘Regulated Asset Base’.

Furthering our integrated utilities business model, we are also strengthening our operating company - Abu Dhabi Energy Services (ADES) - to grow new services in demand-side-management.

We remain focused on pursuing top quartile operations and performance in our oil & gas business. The PosHYdon Project, located in the Netherlands, will integrate three energy systems the Dutch North Sea: offshore wind, gas and hydrogen produced from seawater on an offshore platform. Also, our Gas Storage Bergermeer (GSB) began being powered with clean energy from European wind farms in September.

Setting up for World Utilities Congress 2022
Abu Dhabi will play host in May next year to the World Utilities Congress.

“Taking place just a few months after COP26, the Congress will provide a powerful, global networking and knowledge exchange platform,” said Jasim Husain Thabet. ”This event will showcase our sector’s central role in transforming to a new era for sustainable energy and water and how we are embracing technological changes that will transform our sector.”