Abu Dhabi?s Masdar plans to build a second 100 MW concentrated solar energy plant

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co, known as Masdar, plans to complete construction of its second 100- megawatt concentrating solar power plant in the third quarter of 2013, boosting output of green energy in the Arabian Gulf emirate.

The Abu Dhabi government-owned renewable energy company issued a request for qualification information from potential builders of the facility, according to a copy of the 47-page document obtained by Bloomberg. An official in Masdar’s procurement office declined to speak about the tender, and media relations officials at the company couldn’t immediately be reached by telephone for comment.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, holds almost all of the country’s oil reserves, and is expanding use of solar and wind power in an effort to become a regional hub for renewable energy. The emirate is building Masdar City, a business and residential complex designed to emit minimal carbon emissions, and serves as headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Masdar plans to build the 100-megawatt photovoltaic Nour 1 plant in the city of Al Ain, on Abu Dhabi’s border with Oman. Construction contracts for Nour 1 are to be awarded in December, and the project could become part of a larger solar power complex in Al Ain, according to the document.

Potential bidders must submit their qualification information by March 17, the document said. The company wants to award construction contracts for the project by the end of this year, Frank Wouters, director of a Masdar unit called Masdar Power, said at an industry briefing in Abu Dhabi on Jan 10.

Masdar is already developing a $600m, 100-megawatt concentrated solar thermal plant called Shams 1, to be completed in 2012. Shams 1 is a venture between Masdar, Abengoa SA of Spain and France’s Total SA.

The Nour 1 concentrating solar power plant will cost less than Shams 1 because of improving efficiency and “the normal learning curve for the industry,” Wouters said at the briefing last month.

Photovoltaic plants use solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity. Masdar already operates a 10-megawatt facility of this type.