CEO’s message

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Marco Arcelli
Marco Arcelli CEO

I can confidently state that for ACWA Power, sustainability or ESG is not an ‘add-on’. It is at the heart of everything we do.

Guided by Saudi Arabia’s national ambitions, we are dedicated to supporting a rapid and responsible transition from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.

Today, we are world leaders in ‘green water’ or solar-powered desalination. We are also first-movers when it comes to the development of green hydrogen in the region, and we continue to transform the way energy and water is delivered in communities around the world.

And so, it gives me great pride to share that in 2022, we have made great progress – both financially and as champions of sustainability.

At 31 August, 2023, ACWA Power’s portfolio comprised 75 projects at a total investment cost of USD 79.4 billion, with capacity to generate 50.1 GW of power and produce 7.6 M m3/day of desalinated water.

Furthermore, we marked a significant milestone, on 1 March 2023, when we announced achieving financial close for the USD 8.5 billion NEOM Green Hydrogen Company project (most of which is financed by non-recourse project finance debt).

For these achievements, I must congratulate my predecessor Paddy Padmanathan and his terrific team, who have worked tirelessly in alignment with the four areas of our business: signing long-term power and water contracts, putting together investment packages for new projects, operating our project portfolio through NOMAC, and optimising the use of our capital.

Bold ingenuity is driving us forward and enabling us to meet our renewable energy objectives – 50% reduction in electricity emissions intensity and 50/50 renewable/flexible generation target by 2030, and to achieve net zero by 2050. This is why we are so aligned with Saudi Vision 2030. In many ways, ACWA Power represents the very best of the new Saudi Arabia. At every step of the way, we strive to be proud ambassadors for the Kingdom, and in fact for all the regions we are active in, such as Africa and Asia.

The driving force of our organisation is to provide communities with accessible and affordable water and power in a manner that allows us to meet our net zero targets. To fulfill this objective, we rely on our people. I am pleased to experience first-hand the energy, innovation, expertise and ambition from the ACWA Power family, who have welcomed me wholeheartedly since I joined in March 2023. Such enthusiasm makes me confident that together, no task is impossible.

At ACWA Power, we strive to provide an environment that supports personal and professional opportunities for growth. This includes fostering ingenuity and entrepreneurialism, providing encouragement and training, supporting gender diversity and female representation, and continually investing in the localisation of skilled workers and suppliers.

In our pursuit of excellence, we strive to never lose sight of the safety of our workers and the communities we operate in. So far in 2023, our safety record has improved significantly, with our Lost Time Injury Rate 60% better. Last year, as a top priority, we established the Safety Executive Committee and a dedicated Safety Task Force, which sits directly under my purview and allows me to consistently monitor progress to ensure zero harm in the workplace. We will report our progress on this in due course.

As a public company, our business is about giving our stakeholders the most value for their investments. Concurrently, as an upholder of societal and environmental values, we strongly believe in contributing for the greater good in tandem with economic progress.

Over the coming year, we have identified four strategic areas of focus that will help us do this: continue to support Saudi Arabia’s ambitious solar and wind power agenda, aim to become a major global player in the green hydrogen space, develop more low-carbon water projects in the Gulf and beyond, and continuously decarbonise our conventional power portfolio.

With a clearly defined path ahead of us, I am certain we will achieve all that we set our minds to. Ultimately, we want to run our business as responsible global citizens, bringing affordable power and water to the world.

Marco Arcelli joined ACWA Power on 20 March 2023.

Marco Arcelli, a seasoned C-level executive with over 25 years of international experience in energy and infrastructure, brings a wealth of expertise in the growth of multinational companies and digital innovation. In his previous positions, he played a crucial role in the strategic positioning and growth of Enel Trade, Enel’s North American operations and EP New Energy as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman.

Arcelli’s role as CEO of ACWA Power involves providing strategic and operational leadership, overseeing global expansion efforts and leveraging his expertise in digital innovation to optimise operations and drive growth.