Bee'ah solar plant
Bee'ah's made quite a few strides into sustainable energy projects, mostly within the UAE but also in key markets such as Saudi Arabia. (Image used for illustrative purposes.) Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Landfills have their use... and not just as a depository for waste.

One UAE company plans to repurpose a landfill into a solar farm in Sharjah - and the first such in the country. Emirates Waste to Energy Company - a joint venture between Sharjah's Bee’ah and Masdar of Abu Dhabi - will be developing the former's landfill for such a purpose.

The project will be delivered across three phases, with the first due for completion in 2023. The solar photovoltaic (PV) project will comprise up to 120 megawatts (MW) and constructed on top of Bee’ah’s Al Sa’jah landfill in close proximity to the Sharjah waste-to-energy facility and Waste Management Complex.

"Bee’ah is looking to create new value from capped landfills while supporting the deployment of renewable energy in the UAE," said Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah, Chairman of the Emirates Waste to Energy Company. "I am confident that we can replicate this same model of success for other cities in the Middle East."

Renewable focussed
Emirates Waste to Energy Company’s first project is Sharjah Waste to Energy facility and located in Bee’ah’s Waste Management Complex.
The 30 MW Sharjah waste-to-energy project is due for completion later this year. The power plant will divert approximately 300,000 tons of solid non-recyclable waste from landfill each year, helping Sharjah achieve its zero waste-to-landfill target and the UAE’s goal of diverting 75 per cent of its municipal solid waste from landfill by 2021.

Funding ways

Emirates Waste to Energy Company will be responsible for the financing, design, procurement and construction. Under the terms of the agreement, operation and maintenance services will also be provided by the company for a 25-year period.

Dual purposing landfills

"Finding productive uses for closed landfills is a global industry issue due to stringent environmental monitoring and remediation requirements that can take up to 30 years," the company said in the statement. "Redeveloping the landfill into a solar farm will add to Sharjah’s renewable energy generation, and is also economically and environmentally beneficial."