Reliability of supply

Setbacks on account of unplanned outages

While reliability of supply, ultimately measured at plant level as the power and water made available for dispatch (“plant availability”) is core to our operational performance, 2022 has been a disappointing year, given the number and duration of unplanned plant outages in some of our critical plants.

During 2022, we faced several reliability challenges mainly due to equipment issues (as in IBRI IPP in Oman and Al Mourjan IPP in Saudi); construction defects as at Noor 3 CSP IPP in Morocco, and other factors impacting various projects across the portfolio. Thanks to the outstanding efforts by our O&M teams and the support of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), all these plants have been brought back online in the shortest possible time.

Largely affected by the unusually long outages in Noor 3 CSP and Al Mourjan gas plants, our consolidated power availability for the year stayed at 87% and it was one of the lowest historically. In this context, overall power availability excluding these two plants was at 90% – still lower than our best, and our renewable plant availability was at 97%, if Noor 3 CSP’s year-long outage is excluded from the calculation. Our desalinated water plants’ consolidated availability at 97% for 2022 was in line with our historical stellar track record.

Reliability of supply improvement initiatives

The reliability of supply (RoS) is one of our fundamental business priorities in ACWA Power as we understand the importance of sustaining an uninterruptible supply of electricity and desalinated water to the communities we serve. Hence, the Company, with the support of the respected organisation "EPRI" (Electric Power Research Institute), has defined a unique reliability improvement programme that focuses on the full plant life cycle, from project bidding, design and construction to operation, by looking at all critical equipment and ensuring that we are in a proactive mode. Under the comprehensive RoS framework, this programme defines the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and an appointed ROS Steering Committee (CTO, CPMO, COMO) provides strategic direction and sets the culture.

In 2022, we decided to invest with additional capex across functional teams to address all chronic issues identified mainly due to equipment design issues, QA/QC construction defects and other factors. We launched the RoS Enhancement Programme as a fleetwide approach that focuses on eliminating the common causes of equipment failures. It is a continuous reliability improvement programme that uses the fleet performance analysis outcomes to identify new targets for the RoS mitigation actions periodically. Some examples of actions taken in this programme included the design-related issues with the GT26 compressor, Al Mourjan turbine generator and NOORo III molten salt tank.

AL Mourjan (AMJ)

A single prolonged event on a steam turbine generator was a major contributor to the losses reported at Al Mourjan in 2022. Following an RCA by the OEM and close collaboration with the OEM, design deficiencies were identified and rectified by upgrades. Since then, AMJ has gone on to record the highest output since commissioning.


Noor 3 salt tanks

A hot molten salt tank was found leaking salt at the end of 2021 in the Noor 3 project. Repair of the tank including improvement in the design was performed and finalised. Start-up of the plant and synchronisation finished on 4 December, 2022. ACWA Power/ NOMAC are monitoring the repaired tank and the rest of the systems to anticipate other failures. New engineering has been defined to build a new tank as a permanent solution that eventually will warrant reliability of the plant in the long-term.


GT26 – several design issues have been uncovered on the 2006 version of the compressor where vane natural frequency interactions / excitation have led to multiple forced outages. With the support of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and third-party expertise support, we have analysed the issues and compressor upgrades have been implemented.

The proactive side of ACWA Power reliability improvement efforts is now focusing on the early stage of the asset life cycle through the execution of the RoS checklist at the design, installation, and commissioning phases. These checklists are created based on the fleet lessons learned database, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, an external risk survey, insurance recommendations and personal records for the critical plant equipment. To ensure continuous monitoring and tracking of all actions implemented, we launched a comprehensive digital platform that manages the checklists creation, review, update and implementation process, which enables us to identify reliability risks as early as possible so the feasible risk mitigation can be planned and executed before the O&M phase.

To enhance our operation as well, we have launched two major programmes.

The first one emphasises the single point of failure of "high" residual risk components that have a partial and/or full impact on plant availability (power and water). This initiative helps determine plant spares requirements to enhance the maintenance strategy and work management while improving the equipment uptime.

The second one is a critical systems mitigation plan for reliability risks that pass to the O&M stage; this focuses on critical plant systems risk mitigation through the implementation of a continuous asset health dashboard, condition monitoring programmes, asset life assessment, risk-based inspection, and other means. This allows the O&M team to be proactive and mitigate any possible risks.

To complement these efforts, ACWA Power uses the state-of-the-art predictive analytics solution within two Monitoring and Prediction centres (MPCs), one each in Dubai and Jeddah, which plays a pivotal role in the early detection of anomalies, performance degradations and diagnostic analysis so that corrective actions can be better planned and executed at lower costs and with less service interruption. Such solutions use machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and physics-based analytics to build digital twin modelling of the full plant.

Finally, in response to these outages and to bring the affected plants back to service in the shortest possible time, our O&M team is continuously partnering and working hard with the OEMs to manage any unforeseen challenges.

Our reliability vision

As we keep growing, we expect more challenges, hence, we continue to improve our reliability culture, increase standardisation, and enable more digitalisation to comply more with the international best practice in digital asset management so we experience less than anticipated failures or events of harm, despite operating in complex or risky environments. Our continuous goal is to remain the most responsible and reliable operator.