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Dubai to get Solar Power Day and Night without subsidy at Lower Cost than Gas-fired Electricity

An ACWA Power led consortium has been awarded the fourth phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, by far the largest single-site CSP plant in the world, which will provide reliable and dispatachable electricity to the emirate during the day and throughout the night just as a fossil fuel power plant does. With a capacity of 700 MW, the project has set a new global record for the lowest levelised cost for renewable base load electricity at USD 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour in an IPP tender without the benefit of any subsidy including any carbon credit.  

This plant which will be commissioned in stages with the first phase set for end of Q4 2020 will cover 3,750 hectares, the equivalent of more than 4,500 football fields mostly covered with mirrors concentrating the sunrays, and will feature a combination of a tower and a field of troughs, which will all collect heat and store that heat in molten salt medium to supply electricity on demand at all hours of the day and night, even when the sun is not shining.

Commenting on the announcement, ACWA Power Chairman Mr. Mohammad Abunayyan said, “The confirmation of our 700 MW CSP bid at an investment cost of AED 14.2 billion 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. ACWA Power is proud to continue to be recognised as a partner of choice by DEWA and to support the efforts of making Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 a reality. The company is determined to continue its support for the persistent efforts and ambitious visions pursued by the countries of the region to unleash the potential of the renewable energy sources, especially after the company's successes in this sector.”

Paddy Padmanathan, President & CEO of ACWA Power added: “This project is a game changer in our quest to decarbonize 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 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% of electricity through renewable energy in the not distant future not just a dream but a reality. We are privileged and proud to be partnering with such pioneers as the Emirate of Dubai and the utility DEWA”

Eng. Thamer Al Sharhan, Managing Director at ACWA Power, said: “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 catalyze investment. Winning this contract stresses ACWA Power’s capability to implement this giant project, denoting that whenever granted the opportunity to a Saudi company to compete with international companies, we will prove our worth and ability to implement and achieve.”

Al Sharhan also noted that “the new project represents an added economic value for the two sister countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Also, it is in line with the Saudi vision 2030, which seeks to maximize the Saudi investment base outside the Kingdom and in line with Sheikh Mohammed's vision to transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy through Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050.”

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

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 – approximately the size of Houston, Texas in the United States of America.

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


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