Dubai, UAE, 6 May 2018: H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the 200 megawatt (MW) first stage of the 800 MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park on April 30, 2018. The project is being implemented by Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) system in partnership with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and EDF Group, through its subsidiary EDF Énergies Nouvelles. According to DEWA, the second and third stages of the third phase, which have a capacity of 300 MW each, will be completed in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO, DEWA, spoke on clean energy’s role in building a sustainable future, in the context of a post-oil era and in anticipation of the UAE centennial in 2071. Al Tayer traced the history of the third phase which, he said, began in June 2016, in Abu Dhabi following the signing of a partnership agreement between DEWA and Masdar to implement the 800 MW third phase in stages using photovoltaic solar panels at the cost of 2.99 US cents per kilowatt hour, which, he said, is the lowest in the world.
The total capacity of the photovoltaic and Concentrated Solar Power IPP–based projects, Al Tayer said, is 1,500 MW. The inauguration of the milestone, he said will ensure that solar power will generate 4% of Dubai’s total installed capacity. Touching on the features of the solar park, Al Tayer said advanced features in the park include over 800,000 self-cleaning solar cells and that the project was implemented with over 2.4 million accident-free man-hours. “It will provide over 60,000 residences with electricity,” Al Tayer said, “reducing over 270,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.”
H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, spoke on the country’s progress towards energy security by cultivating a diverse mix of conventional energy, renewables and nuclear energy. Solar, Dr Al Jaber said, makes perfect economic sense in the region, owing to its weather conditions, and that it complements conventional energy by helping to reduce energy costs through peak shaving.
Jean-Bernard Levy, Chairman and CEO, EDF Group, spoke on how the emirates have taken an extraordinary lead in the region in terms of economic growth and cultural influence, with this progress extending to the issue of energy transition and climate change. The solar park once fully commissioned, he said, will be among the largest photovoltaic grounds in the world, occupying an area of 16 square km, with more than 3 million modules used in its construction. The solar park, he emphasised is also a significant milestone for the renewable energy industry globally, by breaking the USD 30 dollar per megawatt hour mark. A limit, which, he said, most industry observers thought was impossible to achieve. “The solar park,” Levy said, “is a clear reference in terms of scale, cost competitiveness and execution.” The company, he said, is also working on a project in Hatta, supporting DEWA in the construction of the first pump storage hydro plant in the Gulf region.
Hannah Jo Uy is Features Writer at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org