UAE launches wind programme that will power over 23,000 homes per year

The project will introduce cost-effective, large-scale, utility wind power to the UAE’s electricity grid

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Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Thu 5 Oct 2023, 4:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Oct 2023, 5:42 PM

A wind programme launched in the UAE will power more than 23,000 homes a year, it was announced on Thursday.

The 103.5-megawatt (MW) project developed by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC – Masdar will displace 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to removing more than 26,000 petrol-powered cars from the roads annually.


On behalf of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, inaugurated the UAE Wind Programme during a ceremony on Sir Bani Yas Island.

The project will introduce cost-effective, large-scale, utility wind power to the UAE’s electricity grid, further diversifying the country’s energy mix. It leverages advances in technology, material science, and aerodynamics to capture low wind speeds at utility scale, paving the way for further projects.


Wind farms across four locations

The project spans four locations: Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, where a 45MW wind farm and 14MWp (megawatt peak) solar farm have been developed; Delma Island (27MW) and Al Sila in Abu Dhabi (27MW); and Al Halah in Fujairah (4.5MW).

During the inauguration, Sheikh Khaled also witnessed the signing of a landmark power purchase agreement between Ewec (Emirates Water and Electricity Company) and Masdar for the wind power generation projects.

With the addition of wind power, Ewec’s portfolio now encompasses multiple sources of strategic green energy, solidifying the UAE’s energy transition leadership.

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Source of national pride

The event was also attended by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, chairman of Masdar and COP28 president-designate; engineer Awaidha Al Marar, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy; Chen Guanfu, president of PowerChina International; and Wu Kai, chairman of Goldwind Group. PowerChina was the main engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the programme and GoldWind Group was the main supplier of equipment.

“The UAE Wind Programme is a great source of national pride and a demonstration of Masdar’s ability to pioneer and implement innovations in wind and renewable energy technologies,” Dr Al Jaber said.

“More than 20 years ago, before Masdar was created however, Sheikh Zayed — someone who cared deeply about the environment — oversaw the completion of a wind turbine on Sir Bani Yas Island. As the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse, Masdar continues this legacy by supporting the nation’s vision as a global leader in sustainability and climate action as it unlocks the new potential of wind power.”

The minister underlined that for a viable energy transition, the world must triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

“As we look forward to hosting COP28, today’s inauguration shows the UAE’s firm commitment to this target, boosting clean energy investments both at home and abroad,” Dr Al Jaber added.

Diversifying UAE’s energy mix

The project marks the first time that the UAE has added utility-scale wind power to its energy mix.

Energy generated by landmark solar, nuclear and waste-to-energy plants already feeds into the UAE’s national grid and earlier this month the country was recognised as a world leader in solar energy use, according to the latest data from The Energy Institute Statistical Review of World Energy.

Previously, wind energy was not viable due to low wind speeds in the UAE, but innovations within climate technology and UAE-led expertise made it possible.

Bigger turbine sizes, lower hardware prices, and the discovery of a unique weather phenomenon that generated high winds at night made this project scalable and economically viable.

As wind power is strongest at night in the UAE, this complements the country’s existing solar power generation, further diversifying the nation's renewable energy mix.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said the launch of the UAE’s first utility-scale wind programme is the result of years of hard work and collaboration. It would not have been possible without the vision and support of the UAE’s leadership. We were able to pioneer cutting-edge technology to overcome the UAE’s low wind speeds and harness the power of this formidable natural resource. As we accelerate our path to Net Zero by 2050, the UAE wind programme shows that anything is possible when you have vision, passion and a pioneering spirit.”

By working with global technology leaders and turbine manufacturers, this project is paving the way for the commercialisation of further utility scale, low-wind speed projects. The project is creating a foundation of critical scientific wind data, which will form the basis of the UAE’s next phase of development.

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