The COP21 climate change deal, signed last week in Paris, confirms that the leaders of 200 nations are now committed to embracing renewable energy as an important tool to limiting the rise of the ambient temperature on earth without compromising on continuing to provide much needed energy to fuel social development and economic growth.
Commenting on what the deal meant for the countries of Middle East and Africa, Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power, said: “The deal signed in Paris has the potential to fundamentally change for ever the way the world generates and utilizes electricity.”
“We welcome the commitment embedded in the agreement to rapidly move towards both ‘low’ and ‘no’ emission power generation which is a game-changer. At ACWA Power we’re already supporting diversification of the energy mix to include renewables in the Arabian Gulf, and to ensuring that GCC nations have the tools to deliver a sustainable energy strategy for future generations without compromising on employment creation and economic development,” he added.
In 2015 ACWA Power signed contracts on two record beating projects in the UAE with Dubai Water & Electricity Authority (DEWA), one solar and one clean coal.
ACWA Power, in collaboration with TSK, will develop and operate the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, to produce 200MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power. It set a milestone for utility-scale solar power generation with the world’s lowest tariff for solar PV energy.
The project, one of the largest strategic new Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects in the renewable-energy market worldwide, occupies 4.5 square kilometres and will avoid 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
The second project, the Hassyan Clean Coal Power Plant, will be developed and operated by a consortium of Harbin Electrical International and ACWA Power. The project utilises ultra-supercritical (USC) technology which requires less coal per megawatt-hour than conventional coal fired power stations due to higher performance efficiency, leading to lower Green House Gas emissions. These emissions are being cleaned to an extra tough level of standards not adopted in any coal fired power plant either in operation or construction in the world.
By delivering a levelized electricity cost of 4.501 USD cents/kWH, one of the lowest if not the lowest tariffs for such a high specification plant, the project is also opening the opportunity for implementing Carbon Capture in the future as the total cost of the coal fired power and carbon capture could well be not significantly out of line with other carbon ‘low’ or carbon ‘nil’ options such as gas fired power or CSP solar power for base load application. The plant is ‘future proofed’ by incorporating provision for easy integration of carbon capture equipment in the future.