Dubai makes big steps to chase solar dreams
Dubai not only has the tallest building and the largest mall in the world. The emirate is also home to the biggest natural flower garden on earth and also aims to have the first 3D printed office building in the world.
Now, it has another dream to chase: the largest single-site solar park in the world.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has a vision for his emirate: it should be able to meet 75 per cent of all its energy needs from sustainable sources by 2050.
In November last year, the AED50 billion Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 was announced to make the emirate a global centre of clean energy and green economy.
As part of the visionary plan, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was launched, which is expected to produce 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030.
On Monday (June 27), the emirate’s utility firm announced that a consortium, led by Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company Masdar, has been selected to build the 800-megawatt (MW) third phase of Dubai’s solar park.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said Masdar will team up with Spanish firms Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) – an Abdul Latif Jameel company – and Gransolar Group.
The consortium won the bid to build the plant beating four other contenders for a record-breaking bid of 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). This is less than half the price of power generated by natural gas.
The third phase of the solar park will be operational by 2020, DEWA added.
“Since the announcement of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the project has attracted huge interest from the business and energy sector. DEWA received several offers from international solar energy companies, reflecting the trust and interest from investors in large projects adopted by the Dubai Government,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA.
Al Tayer added that the park supports the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to increase clean energy’s share of the national energy mix from 0.2 per cent in 2014 to 24 per cent by 2021, with a total investment of $35 billion.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and chairman of Masdar, said the selection of the Masdar-led consortium to develop the project was a testament to the company’s experience and track record over the past decade.
“Our energy systems are evolving to be Smarter and more effective. By using multiple sources of energy, such as gas, nuclear and solar, we are efficiently and cost-effectively meeting our varying power needs, from base load to peak demand. This project will achieve this very objective,” added Dr Al Jaber.Dubai also has plans to have solar panels on every rooftop in the emirate by 2030.
In the region, Saudi Arabi and Qatar have also launched similar initiatives in the clean energy sector.