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Pouring sun on energy mix: UAE kick off its first $35mn solar plant

Published time: October 22, 2013 13:33
Reuters/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

Reuters/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

Dubai has switched on its first solar plant which is also the largest in the Middle East and North Africa. It is an attempt by the OPEC member to diversify away from the conventional energy mix.

The 13-megawatt photovoltaic plant was built by the biggest US solar-panel manufacturer First Solar Inc. (FSLR), with the facility cost estimated at between $33 million to $35 million, officials said.

“This is the first part of Dubai’s plan to develop a solar park with 1,000 megawatts of power by 2030,” as Reuters quoted  Saeed Al Tayer, chief executive officer of Dubai Electricity & Water Authority.

The move comes at a time when the country with 6 percent of global oil reserves is seeking to diversify away from natural gas as a fuel for power stations, as well as boost generating capacity to meet a 5 percent growth in Dubai electricity demand.

Under the Dubai diversification plan, the country should be generating 5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030, with 12 percent coming from coal. Another 12 percent will be coming from nuclear reactors planned in neighboring Abu Dhabi, with the remaining 71 percent coming from gas.

In six months Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) also plans to invite bids for a private partner in its next solar project, a 100-megawatt plant in which it will hold a 51 percent stake. DEWA expects to complete its second solar plant in three years.

The UAE is the fourth-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, with Abu Dhabi holding most of its crude reserves.

Comments (3)


SourceKnown! 23.10.2013 16:55

This looks like a good start to me! why not incorporate a system of study and learning into the national movement and try to find the most efficient way to generate power from the Sun?

This should not just be a set it up and gain some benefits. You have a chance to try slight variations on a small scale and monitor the results.

Th ere are two kinds of people in the world, those who do not learn and those who do!

If we learn from a situation, then we never fail to gain from it, however if we look only at what we have to gain.

Then we can never gain enough!

All we will know is hunger, that will one day consume us!


Mark 23.10.2013 11:06

It's a good start.

Sola r makes excellent sense for Dubai. They can use it for air conditioning, which happens at the same time as solar. They can use it for mass transit, which also happens in the day. They can use it for desalination, which can happen at any time.

Good move, Dubai.


Brock Ingham 22.10.2013 16:17

Wow that's pretty sad, the richest city in the world doesn't even incorporate 5 percent of renewable energy in their consumption mix. This seems more like a PR move than any kind of serious attempt to become sustainable.

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