The UAE has been a forerunner of renewable and clean energy sources among OPEC nations. The world’s largest single-site solar park, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, launched in 2013, will enable Dubai’s net-zero strategy by cutting 6.5 million tonnes of emissions when it becomes operational. The park will play a key role in helping Dubai procure 100% of its power from clean energy sources by 2050.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD, and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said that the regulatory frameworks in Dubai encouraged international investors and developers to participate in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park’s projects. He said that DEWA had attracted investments of around $10 billion through public-private partnerships. DEWA received the lowest solar energy prices globally five consecutive times, making Dubai a global benchmark for solar power prices.
The solar park will have a capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) when it becomes operational in 2030 with investments up to $13 billion (AED50 billion).
The first phase of the project began in 2013 with a 13MW capacity. Composed of 152,000 photovoltaic cells and generating, it involved nearly 28 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. The company said this phase lessened about 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in a year.
The second phase of the solar park began in 2017, providing clean energy to nearly 50,000 residences in Dubai while reducing 214,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. In this phase, DEWA also utilized the IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) model to develop it, led by a consortium comprising Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power, the leading developer, and Spain’s TSK as the main contractor.
The third phase involved using the IPP model in partnership with a consortium led by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and EDF Group, the company said. It provides clean energy for more than 240,000 residences in Dubai.
The fourth phase will have a capacity of 950MW. Upon completion, the project will power 320,000 residences and reduce 1.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
The final phase, led by a consortium led by Acwa Power and Gulf Investment Corporation, will power 270,000 residences while mitigating 1.18 million tonnes of emissions.
The solar park also features an innovation center and an R&D facility to facilitate DEWA’s clean energy expertise.
“At DEWA, we work in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, to promote sustainability and innovation and transform into a sustainable green economy. This is achieved by increasing clean and renewable energy share in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai net-zero carbon emissions strategy to provide 100% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050,” Al Tayer said in a press statement.
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