World’s largest solar power plant moves forward with world’s lowest price

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has awarded a contract to build the 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project at a record-low tariff for solar power of $0.0135/kWh.

EWEC announced on Monday that a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, with partners EDF and JinkoPower, had won the contract to develop the 2GW GW Al Dhafra solar project, which will be built approximately 35 kilometres from Abu Dhabi city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The consortium submitted a record bid of AED0.0497/kWh ($US0.013533/kWh, or around $A0.02/kWh) in a July tender which was announced at the time, but which has only been made official this week with EWEC’s awarding of the contract.

Upon completion, which is expected for the second half of 2022, the project is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road, providing approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity.

“We are delighted to work with our partners and sign a PPA with a record-low tariff for solar power,” said Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC. “We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs.

“Combined with key technological advances, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply, and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector’s transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE.”

Leading the consortium is the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), which already holds the award for world’s largest solar plant with the 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant. With a planned 2GW nameplate capacity, the new Al Dhafra solar plant will blow this out of the water and continue to solidify the UAE as a leading solar innovator.

“The Al Dhafra Solar PV plant is a benchmark project for our nation and the global energy sector,” said Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director at ‎TAQA.

“The project’s low tariff and utilisation of best-in-class technology further demonstrate the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating our nation’s progress on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2 GW.”

Meanwhile, Masdar, the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company and a leading developer of projects in the Middle East, will continue to solidify itself as one of the world’s leading renewable energy developers. Since 2006, Masdar has invested $US4.5 billion in renewable energy projects across the world and, as at the beginning of 2019, Masdar has set itself a target of doubling its 4GW of renewable energy capacity within five years.

“Through the award of the Al Dhafra project, the UAE is affirming once again its determination to lead the global transition to cleaner energy sources, deploying the latest advances in solar power technology at tremendous scale cost efficiently,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

“At Masdar, we are honoured to join EWEC, TAQA, EDF, JinkoPower, and the many other prestigious partners involved in this outstanding project.

“We are excited to be working with them to realise the world’s largest single-site solar power plant in Abu Dhabi, building on our existing portfolio of world-class projects in the UAE, including Shams in Madinat Zayed in Abu Dhabi, and the third phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.”

Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.

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