Construction

DEWA chief talks to MECN as Nestlé inaugurates UAE’s largest ground-mounted solar plant

DEWA’s Al Tayer says providing a low cost of producing solar energy has encouraged private business owners to seek sustainable solutions

Nestlé Middle East in collaboration with Shams Dubai announced the inauguration of the UAE’s largest ground-mounted private solar plant at its Al Maha factory in Dubai yesterday.

The site houses 20,000 PV panels, generating 7.2 GWh of electricity and eliminating 4.5 million kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. Additionally, Nestlé ME’s two other manufacturing sites in UAE, combined with this plant now has 28,000 PV panels that can generate 10 GWh of electricity per year- eliminating six million kg of CO2 emissions annually.

Moreover, the 45,000 sqm. plant will enable the Al Maha factory to run on 85 per cent renewable energy, while the electricity generated annually is equivalent to eliminating carbon emissions of 1000 passenger-cars in a year.

The solar plant is part of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Shams Dubai initiative; the inauguration ceremony was attended by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director & CEO of DEWA and HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, executive chairman – Dubai Aviation City Corporation & Dubai South.

HE Al Tayer briefly spoke to MECN on how Dubai encourages business owners to be a part of sustainable initiatives: “I think Dubai is a hub and we work with all our stakeholders to achieve our objectives. For business owners, we were able to achieve this by reducing the cost of producing solar energy. Initially, the prices [per kWh] were 10 US cents, but we were able to reduce it to 4.5 US cents, and currently, it is at 2.4 US cents- one of the world’s lowest.”

“So, from a price point of view, it’s very cost-effective, and from an environmental point of view, it has zero carbon emissions. Shams Dubai also supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 which aims to meet 75 per cent of Dubai’s energy needs with clean power by 2050.”

“If we can manage to provide very competitive prices and when it’s for a good cause such as clean energy, we encourage our customers. Meanwhile, our customers also like to participate in such [renewable energy-focused] partnerships – and the private sector should work together with the government sector to ensure that such projects are completed on time,” HE Al Tayer added.

Other dignitaries present at the event were HE Massimo Baggi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain, Dr Franco Vigliotti, project head and Dean of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in the Middle East, Marco Settembri, executive vice president Nestlé S.A. and CEO Zone Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and Yves Manghardt, Nestlé Middle East chairman and CEO.

Commenting on the achievement, Manghardt said: “For the last 150 years Nestle’s purpose has been about enhancing the quality of life and contributing to a healthy future.”

“We are determined to continue to play a positive role in the Middle East and contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With our scale, and our actions, we can create a positive impact in society, and be a force of good,” Manghardt concluded.

You can take closer look at the new solar plant here.

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