Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 September 2020

Abu Dhabi receives bids for planned 2GW solar scheme

The scheme will more than double the emirate's current solar capacity upon completion

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company is planning to develop a giant two-gigawatt solar farm in Al Dhafra. Wam
The Emirates Water and Electricity Company is planning to develop a giant two-gigawatt solar farm in Al Dhafra. Wam

Abu Dhabi utility firm, Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), received bids for a planned 2 gigawatt solar photovoltaic project being developed in the Al Dhafra region of the emirate.

The company, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, tendered financing, construction, operation and maintenance packages for the solar plant in July, for which 24 firms pre-qualified to bid. An award is expected in the first quarter of next year, the company said.

"A range of international energy sector experts" and international consortia submitted bids on the scheme, a company spokesman said, declining to specify a number.

The project, which will be built via an independent power producer (IPP) model, will be spread across an area of 20 square kilometres and could provide electricity to 110,000 households across the UAE, according to EWEC. IPPs are typically not owned by the state but build and operate power plants for the sale of electricity to buyers, which could include a utility, the government or end users.

No details were available on the number of phases over which the project will be developed or the potential commercial start date for the plant. The company spokesman said further details will be made available following the award of the contract next year.

The UAE accounts for 4 per cent of global oil output, much of it from producing fields in Abu Dhabi. The emirate has begun diversifying its energy mix, adding solar and nuclear sources to its grid, as it looks to free up its hydrocarbons for the export markets. The planned 2GW PV project follows the start-up in June of the 1.7GW Noor Abu Dhabi plant. That project, built at a cost of Dh3.2 billion, is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, Japan's Marubeni and China's Jinko Solar.

EWEC was created earlier this year following a presidential decree, replacing Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company as part of efforts by the utility regulator, Federal Electricity and Water Authority, to consolidate power and water generation assets across the emirate.

Bidders on the Dhafra solar scheme were also offered "an optional bid" for battery storage following "substantial market interest", the company said. The option would allow for an expansion of storage capacity from the existing six-hour, 108 megawatts available in the Abu Dhabi grid. The company declined to comment on battery storage capacity that would be built for the scheme.

Updated: November 23, 2019 07:56 PM

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