Complex Made Simple

Good news: Dubai to get solar power day and night

An ACWA Power led consortium has been awarded the fourth phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will provide reliable and dispatchable electricity to the emirate during the day and throughout the night, according to a statement released by the company on Monday.

“With a capacity of 700MW, the project has set a new global record for the lowest levelised cost for renewable base load electricity at $0.073 per kilowatt hour in an IPP tender without the benefit of any subsidy including any carbon credit,” said the statement.

How does it work?

The statement explained that this plant will be commissioned in stages with the first phase set for end of Q4 2020 and it will cover 3,750 hectares, the equivalent of more than 4,500 football fields mostly covered with mirrors concentrating the sun’s rays.

It added that it will feature a combination of a tower and a field of troughs, which will all collect heat and store it in molten salt medium to supply electricity on demand at all hours of the day and night, even when the sun is not shining.

Competitive prices

“The confirmation of our 700MW CSP bid for the Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park represents a pivotal moment for the solar industry and the efforts in the region to reach a clean energy future,” said ACWA Power Chairman Mohammad Abunayyan.

Meanwhile, Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power, said: “This project is a game changer in our quest to decarbonise electricity generation by making available renewable energy at a price that competes with fossil fuel generated electricity, without subsidy, not just when the sun is shining, but at any time of the day and night.”

“This project at this scale and cost level is a cause for celebration, not just for the renewable energy industry, but for each and every person in the world who is concerned about preserving the planet for future generations. The visionary courage of the Government of the Emirate of Dubai has enabled ACWA Power to set the scene to make 100 percent of electricity through renewable energy in the not distant future not just a dream but a reality,” added Padmanathan.

This renewable energy plant allows a saving of 2.4 million tons of CO2 and will provide electricity to an equivalent of 568,000 households – an urban conurbation of the size of the size of Houston, Texas in the USA.

It will also save 0.5m tonnes of natural gas per year and eliminate the need to import this gas by paying for it with foreign currency, by substituting with clean and renewable energy based only on free available sun light as an input thus not only contributing to the UAE’s commitments to the world in limiting carbon emissions but also in benefiting the economy through import substitution.

 Dubai as a pioneering model

Thamer Al Sharhan, Managing Director at ACWA Power, said that with the launch of this landmark project, Dubai is a pioneering model in the region and worldwide in the application of transparency, fair competition, clear policies and legislation that catalyse investment.

“The $750m equity investment that ACWA Power has committed on this CSP project in Dubai represents the largest such investment that ACWA Power has ever committed to date and is testament to ACWA Power’s confidence in the Emirate of Dubai and UAE as an investment destination,” he said.

The power purchase agreement and the preparation to achieve financial close are already at an advanced stage to enable construction to commence in 2018.