When fully operational, the project will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to 3.2GW
Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has awarded a major contract to Taqa and Masdar and their consortium partners EDF and JinkoPower. The contract will see the consortium develop what’s billed as the world’s largest solar power plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.
EWEC said it has signed the power purchase agreement and shareholders’ agreement for the two gigawatt (GW) Al Dhafra Independent Power Producer (IPP) project. Once in operation, the plant is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4m metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.
As per the terms of the deal, 60% of the project will be owned by Taqa and Masdar, while the remaining 40% will be owned by EDF and JinkoPower. The project’s financial closure is expected to occur in Q3 2020, enabling initial power generation in H1 2022 and full generation by H2 2022. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2GW, the statement said.
“We are delighted to work with our partners and sign a PPA with a record-low tariff for solar power. We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs. Combined with key technological advances, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply, and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector’s transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE,” said EWEC CEO Othman Al Ali.
A rigorous procurement process is said to have resulted in one of the most cost-competitive tariffs for solar PV energy, set at USD 1.35 cents/kWh on a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) basis.
Taqa Group CEO and MD Jasim Husain Thabet added, “The Al Dhafra Solar PV plant is a benchmark project for our nation and the global energy sector. The project’s low tariff and utilisation of best-in-class technology further demonstrate the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating our nation’s progress on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2GW.”
The Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to provide approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity. It will be larger than Taqa’s existing 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant, which is currently the world’s largest operational single-project solar PV plant.