Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) — the leading national entity for development aid — has approved a $33 million (Dh121 million) concessionary loan for the development of a waste-to-energy facility in Sharjah.

It will be the flagship project of the Emirates Waste to Energy Company, a joint venture between renewable energy leader Masdar and Bee’ah, the environmental management company.

In January 2018, ADFD confirmed its commitment to financing the project, the second of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

Expected to treat more than 300,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) each year, at 37.5 tonnes per hour, the plant will generate around 30 megawatts of energy.

Due for completion by early 2021, the facility aims to help attain Sharjah’s zero-waste-to-landfill target and the UAE’s objective of diverting 75 per cent of its MSW from the landfill by 2021.

Mohammad Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD; Mohammad Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar; and Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah, signed the loan agreement at the ADFD headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

Al Suwaidi said: “We are proud to support one of the first waste-to-energy project in the UAE alongside our strategic partners — Masdar and Bee’ah. This project is an important step in translating the UAE’s objectives in sustainability into reality.”

He said ADFD is committed to financing projects that align with national priorities. “We are confident that the Sharjah waste-to-energy facility will bolster the UAE’s journey towards a renewable energy future. Moreover, the ADFD is also keen on reinforcing the key pillars of the UAE national economy by supporting local companies. Not only will this project stimulate the creation of a new economic sector in the country, it will also build new job opportunities in Sharjah.”

Commending ADFD for its role in translating national and global sustainable development goals into reality, Al Ramahi said the project is estimated to displace almost 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year and save an equivalent of 45 million cubic metres of natural gas per year.

“A pioneering project, the facility will make a major contribution towards achieving the UAE’s goal of producing 50 per cent of its electricity needs from clean energy sources, by 2050,” Al Ramahi said.

Al Huraimel said: “As one of the first waste-to-energy facilities in the region, this iconic project firmly puts the UAE on a path to securing the nation’s green energy future. It also constitutes the final step in the zero-waste-to-landfill strategy, creating a new paradigm for the integrated management of waste.”

ADFD assists beneficiary countries in achieving sustainable socioeconomic growth through financing their development priorities.