His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park with a 1,000 megawatt capacity at a cost of Dh12 billion.
The project will be implemented by the Supreme Council of Energy (SCE) in Dubai and be managed and operated by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).
It will achieve production capacity of 10MW by the fourth quarter of 2013 at a cost of Dh120 million, while by 2030 the park will produce 1,000 MW.
According to the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, the government is looking to diversify the sources of energy, targeting solar energy to supply one per cent of Dubai’s energy by 2020 and 5 per cent by 2030.
Although the private sector is prepared to invest in the solar energy projects in Dubai, the first phase would be 100 per cent funded by the SCE, said Saeed Al Tayer, vice-chairman of the SCE and managing director and chief executive officer of Dewa.
"The SCE is meeting its responsibility to continue our relentless pursuit to provide clean-energy solutions to efficiently meet our future requirements and develop a reduced carbon-footprint economy," he said.
Al Tayer also said that the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 has included a plan to diversify the energy sources so that solar energy contributes one per cent of energy production by 2020 and this will increase to 5 per cent by 2030, while some 12 per cent of the energy generated will be from nuclear sources and another 12 per cent from clean coal while 71 per cent of Dubai’s energy will be generated from gas.
The engineering consultancy service for the first 10MW solar plant tender was awarded but the tender for developers is expected to open in June.
The consultancy tender is under evaluation with six companies — ILF consulting Engineering, Al Ruyah International Engineering, Fitchner, Lahmeyer, Kema Middle East, and Tractable Engineering — under consideration, Al Tayer said.
The project will be self-funded by SCE and constructed in Seih Al Dahal on a 48 square kilometre area using photovoltaic and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies.
However, Al Tayer said that the photovoltaic technology will be deployed in the first phase because it has less interconnectivity requirements than concentrating solar thermal power and Dewa’s existing grid is available in the area and many international manufacturers operate in the area as well.
Maintenance and operation are easier with photovoltaic technology while concentrated solar power requires a more complicated system in the generation cycle.
"The location of the UAE and Dubai within the sunbelt highlights solar energy’s major role."
First quarter of 2012: Completing overall layout of the park as well as requirements for the first phase 10MW photovoltaic contractor.
Second quarter: Consultant will prepare overall plan and detailed environmental study for the park as well as engineering and supervision.
Third quarter: Consultant will evaluate the bids of the first project.
End of third quarter: Contract award for the first solar project.
Fourth quarter of 2013: Project operation with capacity of 10MW.
2030: Project to generate 1,000MW of power.
Zaher Bitar, gulfnews.com