Mohammad Bin Rashid lays the foundation stone for the world’s largest concentrated solar energy investment project with a capacity of 700 megawatts and investment of 14.2 billion dirhams. Image Credit: Courtesy: Twitter

Dubai: The largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power Project (CSP), which broke ground at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park on Monday, will begin producing power by 2020.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the the fourth phase of the solar park.

He said developing the UAE’s infrastructure is a top priority for the UAE’s leadership and vital to raising the country’s global competitiveness.

“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,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

“We have developed a sustainable infrastructure that will serve new generations. The country is reaping the fruits today of the strong planning that we initiated years ago.”

Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), attended the ceremony along with other ministers and senior Dubai Government officials.

The pioneering Emirati landmark, once completed, will generate 1,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030, with investments of Dh50 billion.

The project is being implemented in phases. The fourth phase is a 700MW plant awarded to a consortium comprising Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and the Silk Road Fund, in cooperation with Shanghai Electric as a major contractor.

The Dh14.2 billion-project will be commissioned in stages, and will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Once completed, it’s expected to help reduce 1.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

“Today’s achievement supports Your Highness’ directives to expedite clean and renewable energy projects in order to secure a happy future and enhance the quality of life for our future generations in an economy that doesn’t rely on oil,” Al Tayer said. “This will also achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to provide 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean sources by 2050, and the UAE Centennial 2071, to make the UAE the best country in the world.”

Al Tayer said the project demonstrates the UAE’s commitment in the transition to clean energy to reshape its history while strengthening its global position in relying on clean energy.

“Today, the world is in a constant search for sources of energy, water and raw materials. The UAE has taken advanced steps in preserving the environment and natural resources through solar power projects to diversify energy resources and increase the share of renewable energy while reducing carbon emissions,” Al Tayer said.

Al Tayer said the work in the fourth phase of the project will start immediately. Dewa will take over 200MW-300MW every year. He said that Dewa is preparing to tender another 300MW CSP Project to complete the 1,000MW planned CSP for the whole park.

He said that the project’s third phase will be inaugurated on the first week of May while the second phase will go into commissioning this month.

Harnessing energy from the sun in the UAE, which is in abundance all-year-round, enables the country to be a reliable production source for sustainable clean energy now and in the years to come.

Of the total 10,200MW capacity of Dubai, some two per cent or 213MW is being produced from solar, Al Tayer said.

Concentrated Solar Power project

It will have the world’s tallest solar tower at a height of 260 metres.

It will also have the world’s largest thermal storage capacity.

The fourth phase spans an area of 43 square kilometres, equivalent to more than 8,000 football fields.

The clean energy to be produced is enough to power 270,000 homes.

The project has the lowest cost of electricity of 7.3 US cents kilowatt hour.

The solar park is also designed to provide the Expo 2020 Dubai site with a dedicated 464MW of clean energy, making it the first Expo in the world to be solely powered by solar energy.

Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

2012: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid launches the largest single-site solar park in the world.

October 22, 2013: The 13MW first phase becomes operational. It generates 28 million KW hours of electricity and saves 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. It has 152,000 solar panels.

June 2016: Contract for the 800MW third phase awarded to Masdar-led consortium. It will be implemented in stages until 2020.

March 20, 2017: Shaikh Mohammad inaugurates the 200MW second phase, which generates clean energy for 50,000 homes and saves 214,000 tonnes in carbon emissions. It has 2.3million solar panels.