The Executive Council recently approved a number of projects that support the UAE’s global role as an energy provider.
The Shams solar power plant is scheduled to be operational by August and will contribute 100 megawatts to the Abu Dhabi power grid. Approval has also been given for the construction of the Sir Baniyas wind farm.
Both of these projects will help to support the government’s vision of having 7 per cent of its energy needs supplied by renewable energy.
The Shams solar power station will be constructed approximately 120km southwest of Abu Dhabi and 6km from Madinat Zayed on the road from Tareef to Liwa Oasis.
The first phase of Shams 1 will have a capacity of 100MW, which makes it among the largest parabolic trough power stations in the world.
Shams 1 is expected to be commissioned this year to be followed by Shams 2 and Shams 3 stations.
Shams 1 will displace 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and its power output will be enough to power about 20,000 homes.
The station will consist of 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors, 192 solar collector assembly loops with eight solar collector assemblies per loop, 768 solar collector assembly units, and 27,648 absorber pipes. It covers an area of 2.5 square kilometres.
The project is developed by the Shams Power Company, a special purpose vehicle of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) in cooperation with Abengoa Solar and France’s Total.
Masdar has 60 per cent stake in the project while Abengoa Solar and Total have 20 per cent each. The power station will be developed under a 25-year build, own and operate contract. The construction cost of Shams 1 is about $600 million (Dh2.2 billion).
The project is financed by 10 regional and international lenders including BNP Paribas, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Societe Generale.
Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, earlier said: “The launch of the Shams 1 marks a very important milestone for Masdar and for Abu Dhabi. “I am very proud of the announcement we are making… because this project, which will be the first utility scale, commercial solar power project in the UAE, represents the translation into reality of the vision the Abu Dhabi leadership had for renewable energy in the Emirate.”
“In addition, Shams 1 will allow Masdar to transfer to Abu Dhabi the know-how and expertise we have gained from our involvement in developing world-class renewable energy projects abroad, thus not only opening the door for renewable energy projects in the UAE but also for technology transfer, contributing toward the development of a knowledge-based economy and new job opportunities through the specialisations required to manage and operate the plant,” Al Jaber said.
“By participating in this ambitious project alongside Masdar and Abengoa Solar, Total develops its solar energy assets, enriches its portfolio of expertise with this first step in concentrated solar technology, and reaffirms its unique partnership with Abu Dhabi,” Philippe Boisseau, President, Total Gas and Power said in a previous statement.
He further said: “We are pleased to be partnered with Abu Dhabi, a country we have been working with for more than 70 years, in its pursuit of energy diversification.”