Abu Dhabi: Shams 1, the largest renewable energy project in the Middle East, which will generate 100 megawatts of clean and sustainable energy at a cost of Dh2.2 billion ($600 million), will be officially inaugurated on March 17. This was disclosed on Monday by Masdar, a Mubadala company.
According to Masdar, Shams 1 will be one of the largest concentrated solar power [CSP] plants in the world, extending over an area of 2.5 square kilometres with a capacity of approximately 100 MW.
The company said the CSP technology and parabola shapes means that solar thermal electricity is generated by focusing sunlight, concentrated by mirrors, reflects to heat a coolant which then generates high-pressure steam to drive a steam turbine.
Shams 1, the first utility-scale commercial solar power project in the Middle East, will consist of 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors, 192 solar collector assembly loops with eight solar collector assemblies per loop, 768 solar collector assembly units and 27,648 absorber pipes
According to Masdar, Shams 1, located near Madinat Zayed in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, will begin feeding power to the Abu Dhabi national grid as of March this year.
The power station will be developed under a 25-year build, own and operate contract. The construction cost of Shams 1 is about $600 million (Dh2.2 billion).
“In order to meet future energy demands, while also reducing the environmental footprint, the region is investing in and rapidly deploying renewable sources of energy, the UAE is a first mover in the region, and Shams 1 proves that large-scale renewable energy can be commercially viable in one of the most arid, harsh climates in the world,” said Masdar.
Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, earlier said: “The launch of the Shams 1 marks a very important milestone for Masdar and for Abu Dhabi.”I am very proud of the announcement we are making because this project, which will be the first utility scale, commercial solar power project in the UAE, represents the translation into reality of the vision the Abu Dhabi leadership had for renewable energy in the Emirate.”
“Shams 1 is a major milestone in addressing the UAE’s long-term energy diversification plans,” Masdar added.
The statement said that Shams 1 was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar which has 60 per cent stake in the project while Abengoa Solar and Total have 20 per cent each.
Work on the project started in the third quarter of 2010 with the stated purpose of generating enough energy to power 20,000 homes.