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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Dubai to tender 300MW solar plant by the beginning of 2019

The concentrated solar power facility in Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will raise CSP capacity to 1000MW by 2020

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chief executive of Dewa, at the opening of the 200MW 1st stage of 3rd phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chief executive of Dewa, at the opening of the 200MW 1st stage of 3rd phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority will tender a 300 megawatt concentrated solar power plant for the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park before the first quarter of 2019 as the UAE looks to meet 7 per cent of its power needs from solar by 2020, according to its utilities chief.

The CSP unit will be tendered with storage, Saeed Al Tayer, Dewa managing director and chief executive, said on the sidelines of the opening of the first part of the 800MW phase three of the solar scheme in the Seih Al Dahal desert to the south of Dubai. A consortium led by Abu Dhabi's Masdar and France’s EDF Group are set to complete the third phase by 2020, for which they have secured $650m in financing arranged through banks, according to Fawaz Al Muharrami, executive managing director of Shuaa Energy, the joint venture by both partners.

The solar park, being built in phases, is set to have a 5,000MW capacity by 2030 and will be the largest independent power producer (IPP) model single-site solar park in the world, once completed. Dubai, currently meets 4 per cent of its power needs from solar with the remainder generated from natural gas. The emirate has targeted generating 25 per cent of its energy needs from clean resources by 2020, which it hopes to scale up to 75 per cent by 2050.

Dewa plans to spend around Dh81 billion over the next five years to develop its energy infrastructure. Of the planned spend, Dh39bn would go the IPP developer, Mr Al Tayer said.

An IPP refers to an entity that generates power for sale to a public utility.

In March Dewa awarded contracts to build four substations with a combined value of Dh1.28bn as part of its wider programme to boost power capacity.

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Among other developments Dewa is targeting is a hydrogen plant to be developed with Germany’s Siemens that is set to provide fuel for buses plying to the solar park during Dubai’s hosting of the Expo 2020, Mr Al Tayer said.

The utilities developer is also working to stem loss of water during its transmission and distribution, which Dewa estimated was around 7 per cent last year.

“We hope that this year we’ll reach 6 to 5 per cent and we will do a lot of automation for distribution now,” he said.

“The customer net loss used to be 15 minutes [and] today [it is] 2.3 mins, the lowest worldwide,” he added.

Dewa is also currently undertaking a study of its last water reservoir project before it switches to aquifer storage, which involves storing strategic reserves of water in natural fissures underground. Dewa earlier this year awarded consultancy contracts to design and construct two water reservoirs at Al Nakhli and Al Lusaily that will increase the storage capacity of Dubai to 1 billion gallons.

“The natural reservoirs being studied could contain about 1.6 billion gallons of water. We started three years ago, and we’ll announce our findings by the end of the year,” Mr Al Tayer said.