Stock Abu Dhabi skyline city UAE
Abu Dhabi is set to get a significant boost in solar power generation. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Dubal Holding and Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) Wednesday announced a plan to unlock significant further development of solar power generation capacity in Abu Dhabi.

The plan includes enhancing of generation optimisation, and decarbonise EGA’s aluminium production in the UAE.

The initiative, now subject to further negotiation and regulatory approvals in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, would advance TAQA and Dubal Holding’s growth strategies, see EGA become a leader in the global aluminium industry’s drive towards net zero by 2050, and support EWEC’s continued development of strategic renewable energy initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy sector.

“Sourcing cost-effective clean power from the grid will enable EGA to lead our global industry into a more sustainable future. Today, we are taking another historic step towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of EGA.

Acquisition plans

TAQA and Dubal Holding envisage acquiring EGA’s electricity generation assets in the UAE, holding a 50 per cent share each. The power generated from the assets would be supplied to the grid under a long-term power purchase agreement with despatch of the assets through EWEC’s load despatch centre.

“Working together with EGA, Dubal Holding and EWEC, we will enable EGA to connect to a diverse energy mix as well as allow for the development of additional renewable energy projects in Abu Dhabi,” said Jasim Husain Thabet, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of TAQA.

The assets, located in Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah, total 6,474 megawatts of power generation capacity, predominantly combined cycle gas turbines technology. These include some of the most efficient turbines in the region, including an H-class engine in Jebel Ali that was commissioned in 2021.

New addition to grid

TAQA’s operating company, Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company (TRANSCO), would connect the power assets to the grid, as well as investing in developing the interconnections to upgrade the network to include new substations and strengthening connectivity in the UAE.

For TAQA, the acquisition of EGA’s power assets would increase the company’s UAE-based capacity to more than 23 gigawatts, in line with TAQA’s growth strategy to increase domestic capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030.

Dubal Holding, as a 50 per cent shareholder of EGA, supports EGA’s sustainability initiatives and also has its own goal of having a strong, diversified power and energy portfolio.

“There is a global alignment to reduce our carbon-footprint and we are excited to pursue this initiative by supporting EGA with its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. We are also encouraged to support the broader inter-Emirate cooperation in the energy sector as this will further boost both the local and larger UAE economy,” said Ahmad Hamad Bin Fahad, Chief Executive Officer of Dubal Holding.

EGA would source power from the grid through a long-term electricity supply agreement, including an increasing proportion of clean energy procured by EWEC. This would make EGA the largest single electricity consumer on the grid.