Ruler of Dubai breaks ground on 700MW Solar Park extension

Extension to the largest single-site solar park in the world begins

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Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has officially 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.

His Highness said during the ceremony that developing the UAE’s infrastructure is top priority for the leadership and vital to raising the country’s global competitiveness. The UAE is developing a new model for sustainability and innovation and is keen to find creative solutions based on international best practices and benchmarks. The country is a pioneer in transforming its energy sector to one based on solar power and clean energy, His Highness added.

 “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 said. “We have developed a sustainable infrastructure that will serve new generations. This infrastructure has been built by young Emiratis who will lead our country through the next phase of growth. We are proud of our nation’s advancements in clean energy and green economy. The country is reaping the fruits today of the strong planning that we initiated years ago.”

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: “I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for honouring us with his presence today on the occasion of this important milestone in our progress towards sustainability. This pioneering Emirati landmark has become a global model based on a vision. It anticipates the future of a nation that sees sustainability as a life-long approach, and a basis for its progress and pioneering achievements for generations to come.”

“This will also achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which His Highness launched, to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power output from clean sources by 2050, and the UAE Centennial 2071, to raise the UAE’s status as the best country in the world,” Al Tayer added. “The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will provide Expo 2020 Dubai with a dedicated capacity of 464MW of clean energy. This will be the first Expo in the world to be completely powered by clean energy.”

DEWA announced last year that it had selected Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Shanghai Power to build the 700MW extension. According to ACWA, the project will feature the world’s tallest solar tower measuring 260m and the world’s largest thermal energy storage capacity. It will provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai, reducing 1.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

ACWA said the park will use two technologies for the production of clean energy: a 600MW parabolic basin complex and the 100MW solar tower over a total area of 43 sq/km. This project, which features an investment of $3.87 billion, has achieved the world’s lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of USD 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h). This is a new global achievement for the UAE.

“We are proud to be part of Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 through this project, which extends our portfolio in the energy sector in Dubai and, thanks to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, proves the success and effectiveness of implementing projects based on a public-private partnership model.” said Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power. “We have also demonstrated the success of our mission to reduce the price of solar energy and deliver the lowest tariff by implementing Concentrated Solar Energy (CSP) at a commercial scale – thereby contributing to the reduction of reliance on traditional energy sources. The project also set multiple world records including the world’s tallest solar tower, at 260 metres and delivering the world’s highest capacity molten salt storage unit – able to provide 15 hours of uninterrupted supply even without sunlight.”

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power described the 24 hour dispatchable cost competitive solar energy that this project will deliver as not just “a monumental step forward in achieving the goals of Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy but is also possibly the most significant contribution to accelerating the energy revolution across the world.”

He noted that ACWA has invested of $750million into the project making it the company’s single largest investment.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the IPP 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.

“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,” said Cao Min, President of Shanghai Electric. “It’s universally acknowledged that Dubai is a dynamic and charming metropolis and Shanghai Electric is privileged and proud to witness its boom and prosperity. We’ve sensed the trust from the client and turn it into momentum to cater to whatever the client requires us with strong sense of responsibility.”



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