Dubai’s Dh50b clean energy drive gains momentum

Issac John /Dubai Filed on November 24, 2020
Courtesy: Twitter

In 30 years, Dubai aims to source 75 per cent of its electricity from clean energy.

The ground-breaking Dh50 billion Dubai initiative to generate 5,000MW of clean energy by 2030 has gained momentum with the inauguration of the third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, 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 inaugurated the 800MW third phase and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (Dewa’s) Innovation Centre.

The Vice President also visited the site of the 950MW fourth phase of the solar park, the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project, being developed at an investment of Dh15.78 billion.

The fourth phase of the solar park, which is also the world’s largest single-site investment project, combines CSP with photovoltaic solar panels. The project features the world’s tallest solar power tower that will be 262.44 metres high, according to a statement from Dubai Media Office.

Dewa built the 800MW photovoltaic third phase in three stages using the IPP model in partnership with a consortium led by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and EDF Group, through its subsidiary EDF Énergies Nouvelles at an investment of Dh3.47 billion. The 200MW first stage became operational in May 2018 while the 300MW second stage became operational in August 2018. The third stage will see 300MW of energy generated using photovoltaic technology across solar farms.

The third phase provides clean energy for over 240,000 residences in Dubai. The facility is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region to use single-axis solar tracking to increase energy generation. It also uses other innovative technologies including cleaning robots for photovoltaic panels to increase the plant’s efficiency.

The inauguration of the third phase of the solar park supports Sheikh Mohammed’s vision to provide 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy and attract environmentally-friendly investments through the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. To achieve this goal, Dubai has developed an integrated system to train Emiratis and recruit the most skilled and experienced people from around the world.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dewa briefed Sheikh Mohammed about the Innovation Centre, a global hub for renewable and clean energy innovation that is expected to contribute to shaping the global future of sustainable energy.

The Centre houses an auditorium for events, conferences, and training programmes on solar power, renewable energy, and other green initiatives. The four-storey building covers 4,355 square metres and is 88 metres high.

The Dubai utility has attracted Dh40 billion in investments and enhanced public-private partnerships through the IPP model that has created promising opportunities. “By implementing the IPP model, the solar park projects have recorded the world’s lowest solar power prices five times in a row.

The upcoming fourth phase of the park uses three hybrid technologies to produce clean energy: 600MW from a parabolic basin complex (three units of 200MW each), 100MW from a solar power tower (based on Molten Salt technology), and 250MW from photovoltaic solar panels.

On its completion, the project will have the world's largest global thermal storage capacity of 15 hours, facilitating energy availability round-the-clock. The fourth phase will provide clean energy for 320,000 residences and will reduce 1.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The project, which covers a total area of 44 square kilometres, has broken many world records, including the lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of $7.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kW/h) for the 700MW CSP and 2.4 cents per kW/h for the 250MW photovoltaic solar panels. A consortium led by Dewa and Acwa Power has formed a project company, Noor Energy 1, to design, build, and operate the plant. Dewa owns 51 per cent of the company while Acwa Power owns 25 per cent and the Silk Road Fund 24 per cent. The fourth phase will be operational in stages starting from the third quarter of 2021.


Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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