Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched a new production phase in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to produce 300 megawatts of energy that can cater to the needs of 90,000 houses.
Making the announcement on Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Our end goal of the huge project is to produce 5000 megawatts before 2030. Clean energy in Dubai will constitute 13 per cent before the end of the year, and our goal is 75 per cent before 2050 and we are proceeding successfully according to our plan".
"We have a new model of energy production in partnership with the private sector in Dubai. We have attracted Dh40 billion of investments from the private sector to produce energy in Dubai. This is the result of the high confidence in the emirate's economic future and to them we say: everyone succeeds and can make profits in Dubai... and the next is always more beautiful and greater," said Sheikh Mohammed in another tweet
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model. It has a planned production capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2030, with investments totalling Dh50 billion. When completed, it will save over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The solar park also houses an Innovation Centre, a Research and Development (R&D) Centre and a 3d-printed lab.
Sheikh Mohammed was welcomed at the solar park by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA and board members of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, including Dawood Al Hajiri, Director General of Dubai Municipality; Abdulla bin Kalban, Managing Director of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA); Saif Humaid Al Falasi, CEO of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC); and Nasser Abu Shehab, CEO of the Strategy and Corporate Governance Sector at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in addition to Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power; and HE Li Xuhang, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Dubai.
In November 2019, DEWA announced the consortium led by ACWA Power and Gulf Investment Corporation as the Preferred Bidder to build and operate the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park using photovoltaic (PV) solar panels based on the IPP model. DEWA achieved a world record by receiving the lowest bid of $1.6953 cents per kilowatt hour (Levelised Cost of Energy) for this phase. A total of 60 Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) were received from international developers.
To implement the project, DEWA established Shuaa Energy 3 in partnership with the consortium led by ACWA Power and Gulf Investment Corporation. DEWA owns 60 per cent of the company, and the consortium owns the remaining 40 per cent. The project uses the latest Solar photovoltaic bifacial technologies, which allows solar radiation to reach the front and back of the panels, with single-axis tracking to increase generation. The fifth phase will provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai, including 90,000 residences by the commissioned first stage, and will reduce 1.18 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. To be commissioned in stages until 2023, the fifth phase uses the latest solar photovoltaic bifacial technologies with Single Axis Tracking to increase energy production.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also launched a project to study the feasibility of generating electricity by utilising wind energy in Hatta. Based on field visits and available preliminary data on wind in Hatta, DEWA has identified the location for a wind farm with a total capacity of about 28 megawatts. Actual wind speed for a full year is currently being measured at the location using a 150-metre metal tower. The purpose is to collect accurate data and study the total capacity of the power plant as well as other technical details in terms of number of turbines, capacity of each, annual operating hours, among other things.
“The project to generate electricity using wind power is part of our efforts to diversify clean and renewable energy sources in Dubai. These include photovoltaic solar panels technology, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), green hydrogen production using renewable energy, and pumped-storage technology in the hydroelectric power station in Hatta,” said Al Tayer.
The plan in action
Commissioning the 300 megawatts first stage of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park increases DEWA’s total capacity of clean energy to 1,310 megawatts. This brings clean energy capacity in Dubai’s energy mix to around 10 per cent. DEWA’s production capacity has increased to 13,200MW of electricity and 490 million imperial gallons of desalinated water per day (MIGD).
By the end of 2021, clean energy capacity is expected to increase to 13.3 per cent of Dubai’s total energy mix after adding 517 megawatts from solar photovoltaic panels and CSP in the fourth phase of the solar park. These include 100 megawatts from the world's tallest CSP tower at 262.44 metres, 200 megawatts from the first project of the parabolic trough, and 217 megawatts using photovoltaic solar panels.
Al Tayer emphasised that DEWA's major project in cooperation with the private sector and using the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model contributes to the economic growth of the Emirate. Through this model, DEWA received the lowest solar energy prices (Levelised Cost of Energy) globally five consecutive times, making Dubai a global benchmark for solar power prices. DEWA has attracted investments of around Dh40 billion from the IPP model.