The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has broken ground on the fourth phase of a solar park that is set to become the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the UAE is set to become the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model.
The project is being implemented by the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) and it is expected to generate 700 MW of power when it is completed.
“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,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE said in a media statement.
According to a press release issued by Sheikh Mohammed, the solar park will generate 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030. The first phase comprising 13 MW of capacity became operational in 2013. The 200 MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park was launched in March 2017. The 800 MW third phase is expected to be operational by 2020, and the first stage of the 700 MW CSP fourth phase is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Once complete, the project is expected to provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai and eliminate 1.4 million tons of carbon emissions per year. It will feature the world’s tallest solar tower measuring 260 meters and the world’s largest thermal energy storage capacity.
The CSP project will use two technologies to produce clean energy: a 600 MW parabolic basin complex and the 100 MW solar tower encompassing a total area of 43 square kilometers.
AED14.2 billion has been invested into the project and it has achieved the world’s lowest Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) at $7.3 cents/kWh.
The announcement comes as the Middle East is emerging as one of the largest renewable energy markets globally. UAE’s neighbor Saudi Arabia, one of the key players in the region, has set a target to produce approximately 10 percent of its power from renewable sources in the next six years.
In October 2017, Mercom reported that the low bids submitted for a 300 MW solar PV project planned for Saudi Arabia surprised everyone when the lowest submitted bid for the LCOE (levelized cost of energy) came in at just 6.69 halalas/kWh (~$0.0178/kWh).
In December 2017, Mercom also reported that the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) announced a Request for Qualification (RFQ) for a 500 MW utility-scale solar project in in the country. Oman’s first utility-scale solar plant is set to be established in Ibri, 300 km west of Muscat.
Image credit: Dubai Media Office Twitter