Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and Silk Road Fund, which is owned by the Chinese Government, announced the financial closing of the 950-megawatt fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world. The solar park will produce 5,000 megawatts by 2030 with investments totalling AED 50 billion. This is a new milestone in promoting the use of clean and renewable energy.
The announcement was made by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, and Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, at a press conference that was attended by HE Tan Li, Consul General of the Republic of Chinese in Dubai, and Erik Rovina, Commercial Counselor to the Spanish Embassy in the UAE. Paddy Padmanathan, President & CEO of ACWA Power, Abdul Hamid Al Muhaidib, Executive Managing Director of Noor Energy 1, Waleed Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at DEWA, and a number of officials from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and China were present.
In his speech at the conference, Al Tayer noted that this achievement supports DEWA’s efforts to increase the share of renewable and clean energy in Dubai and strengthen the UAE’s position as a leading global hub for clean energy and green economy. This has been achieved thanks to the vision of the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Their vison anticipates the future and recognises the importance of renewable energy in achieving a balance between development and the environment.
“DEWA is implementing the fourth phase of the solar park in cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Silk Road Fund. This phase is the largest single-site investment project in the world. It uses both Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and photovoltaic solar technologies based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model with investments up to AED15.78 billion. It will use 700MW of CSP; 600MW from a parabolic basin complex and 100MW from a solar tower; and 250MW from photovoltaic solar panels. This phase will provide clean energy for 320,000 residences and will reduce 1.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The project, which will cover an area of 44 square kilometres, achieved several world records. These include the world’s lowest CSP Levelised Cost of Electricity of USD7.3 cents per kilowatt-hour and the lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity for photovoltaic technology of 2.4 US cents per kilowatt-hour. The project will feature the tallest solar tower in the world at 260 metres and the largest thermal storage capacity of 15 hours; allowing for energy availability round the clock,” said Al Tayer.
“The Eight Principles of governance in Dubai launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that Dubai is global hub that focuses on creating economic opportunities, and that Dubai’s growth is driven by three factors: a credible, resilient and excellent government; an active, fair and open private sector; and public and government-owned flagship companies that compete globally and move the economy locally. At DEWA, we work in line with these principles in the solar power projects that are implemented based on the IPP model. Through this model, we achieved several world records in solar electricity prices through competitive bids that contributed to reducing its costs globally and attracted large investments to the UAE from the private sector and foreign banks. Since its inception, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park’s projects have received considerable attention from global developers. Financing the fourth phase of the solar park is the largest equity bridge loans in the region, in cooperation with a number of leading local and international banks. This reflects the confidence of financial institutions in the major projects adopted by the Government of Dubai, especially in light of the regulatory framework that stimulates innovation and attracts investments and the transparency we deal with in all our projects, as well as DEWA’s strong financial position,” added Al Tayer.
“The solar power projects currently operational in the solar park have a capacity of 413MW. DEWA currently has 3 more projects under implementation with a capacity of 1,550 megawatts. We recently announced the 900-megawatt 5th phase using photovoltaic solar panels, bringing the total capacity of the five phases announced so far to 2,863MW. We are on our way to reaching 5,000MW by 2030 and achieving the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to produce 75% of Dubai's total power output from clean energy and make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,” noted Al Tayer.
Al Tayer thanked DEWA’s partners in the consortium; the local, Chinese, and international banks that are involved in financing the project; and the staff of Noor Energy 1, which was established by the consortium to implement the project. “We promise our wise leadership to continue building renewable and clean energy projects for a more sustainable future, for generations to come,” concluded Al Tayer.
“Since the beginning of our partnership with the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, the Noor Energy 1 project has grown in both scale and in its ability to revolutionise the global energy landscape. The successful closure of the project with renowned international players corroborates the potential of Noor Energy 1 and also maintains our reputation as a partner of choice, delivering projects that contribute to the growth and development of vibrant economies such as that of Dubai. It is an honour to help fulfil the ambitious vision of Dubai’s leadership and to work with Dubai Water and Electricity Authority in their admirable efforts to serve the community in which they operate,” said Abunayyan.
“From winning the project at the lowest international tariff to the robust capabilities of hybrid Concentrated Solar and Photovoltaic plant, Noor Energy 1 will inevitably see the highest standards of creativity in design, and efficiency in operations. Noor Energy 1 is testament to our ongoing work and collaboration with DEWA to achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and supporting the continuous growth of the emirate of Dubai” Abunayyan added.
“Last year, in partnership with DEWA, we made a decision to expand the project’s production capacity from 700MW to 950MW through a hybrid Concentrated Solar and Photovoltaic plant, to ensure maximum productivity. Our use of the hybrid model is an indication of our marked expertise in the market, focusing on the way we have reduced costs for both technologies and marking yet another innovation. Noor Energy 1 would be capable of 15 hours of thermal energy storage -a great feat for renewables. Through this technology we would effectively be supplying energy from the sun both day and night. The plant would be characterized by its 260M long solar tower”, concluded Abunayyan.
Noor Energy 1 was launched in a partnership between DEWA, ACWA Power and China’s Silk Road Fund to build the 4th phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The lending group to the Project include Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Everbright Bank, China Minsheng Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Commercial Bank International, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Natixis, Standard Chartered Bank and Union National Bank. In addition, Bank of China, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates NBD Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Mashreq bank and Union National Bank have provided long-term loans.