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Credit: Dubai Government media office

Credit: Dubai Government media office

World’s largest single-site solar park under construction in Dubai

The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum broke ground on the 700MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the biggest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the IPP (Independent Power Producer [1]) model.

It will generate 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030. The 13MW photovoltaic first phase became operational in 2013. The 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park was launched in March 2017. The 800MW photovoltaic third phase will be operational by 2020, and the first stage of the 700MW CSP fourth phase will be commissioned in Q4 of 2020.

The project features the world’s tallest solar tower measuring 260 metres and the world’s largest thermal energy storage capacity, will provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai, reducing carbon emissions by 1.4 million tonnes annually.

The CSP project will use two technologies for the production of clean energy: the 600MW parabolic basin complex and the 100MW solar tower over a total area of 43 square kilometres.

This project which has an investment of AED14.2 billion (USD 3.9 billion), has achieved the world’s lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of USD 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h). LCOE is the net present value of the per unit-cost of electricity over the lifetime of a generating asset. This measure allows the comparison of different technologies of unequal life spans, project size, different capital cost, risk, return, and capacities

This will also help in achieving the target of providing 75% of Dubai's total power output from clean sources by 2050 under the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. The strategy seeks to transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy; establishing the Emirate as the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world.

Achieving these targets is estimated to require more than 42,000 MW of clean and renewable energy by 2050. This project has a planned capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030, with a total of AED 50 billion (US$13.6 billion) in investments.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will provide Expo 2020 Dubai with a dedicated capacity of 464MW of clean energy, making it the first Expo in the world to be completely powered by clean energy, according to the press release.

His Highness said that developing the UAE’s infrastructure is a top priority for the leadership and vital to raising the country’s global competitiveness.

 “We will continue pursuing ambitious investments with an emphasis on projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Clean and renewable energy is key to sustainable development and the UAE has set an example for its rapid adoption,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

HH Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied at the ground-breaking ceremony by Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, apart from ministers, and director generals and senior officials of Dubai Government departments.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said, “Today’s achievement supports HH Sheikh Mohammed’s directives to expedite the pace of clean and renewable energy projects, in order to secure a happy future and enhance the quality of life for our future generations in an economy that doesn’t rely on oil, realising the dream of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, which has already become a reality.”

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and the Silk Road Fund are partners in the project, along with China’s Shanghai Electric as the main contractor.

"At ACWA Power we are proud of our role in obtaining the lowest price globally for the second phase of the solar park, Shuaa Energy 1 in Dubai. Today we are driving price reduction for Concentrated Solar Power projects globally, achieving more than just one unprecedented world record, by constructing the world's tallest 260-meter solar tower and providing the highest storage capacity of 15 hours throughout the day,” said HE Mohammad Abu Nayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power.

Cao Min, President of Shanghai Electric, said, “On behalf of Shanghai Electric, I would like to express warm congratulations on the groundbreaking of this project and gratitude to those who have been dedicating to making contributions in pushing forward the project. This project is by far the largest and most advanced concentrated solar power project co-developed by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and ACWA Power, implemented by Shanghai Electric as EPC contractor.”

[1] IPPs are private entities (under unbundled market), which own and or operate facilities to generate electricity and then sell it to a utility, central government buyer and end users.

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