UAE targets significant solar power expansion

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is setting its sights on a significant expansion of its renewables capacity with a proposal to develop a 1,500 megawatts (MW) new photovoltaic power plant. 

The greenfield solar power plant will be located in Al Khazna area of Abu Dhabi and will be similar in scale and production capacity to the existing Al Dhafra Solar  and Al Ajban Solar facilities.

Once fully operational, the project is expected to generate enough electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE, and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.

The Khazna Solar project will involve the development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and ownership of the plant and associated infrastructure.

The project is intended to follow the independent power project programme of Abu Dhabi, where developers enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with EWEC as the sole procurer of electricity.

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) is inviting developers or developer consortiums to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by a deadline of 2 October 2023.

Commenting on the move, Othman Al Ali, CEO of EWEC, said: “We continue to strategically invest in developing world-leading renewable projects that significantly accelerate our journey to meeting 60 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s total power demand from renewable and clean energy sources by 2035, in addition to actively contributing to the achievement of the UAE’s sustainability objectives.”

EWEC added that it is also planning to commission at least two additional 1,500MW solar PV projects, reflecting its commitment to adding an average of 1GW of solar capacity per year for the next decade.