Dubai appoints advisory team for independent solar project

20 March 2014

Dubai independent power project will involve developing 100MW photovoltaic solar scheme

The Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) has appointed financial and legal advisers for the 100MW second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, which is being developed as an independent power project (IPP).

Netherland’s KPMG has been appointed as financial adviser and the UK’s London Norton Rose Fulbright has been appointed as legal adviser for the planned solar project, which will utilise photovoltaic (PV) technology.

Dewa received bids from nine groups for the advisory mandate on 4 December last year. The KPMG consortium submitted the fourth-lowest price of AED8.8m ($2.4m) for the role.

This is the second advisory contract Dewa has awarded for a proposed IPP in 2014. In February, a consortium led by the UK’s EY (formerly Ernst & Young) was appointed by Dewa as financial adviser for the planned 1,200MW Hassyan clean-coal fired IPP.

The clean-coal project will be carried out in two 600MW phases, with the first phase to be completed by 2020 and the second by 2021. The Hassyan site was also proposed for the gas-fired IPP, for which Dewa received bids in December 2011, but announced it was putting the scheme on hold in April 2012 just as the preferred bidder was due to be announced.

The first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park began operation on 22 October 2013. The 13MW first phase is the largest operating PV solar plant in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, and will generate 24 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year. The project is powered by 152,880 photocell PV modules, connected to 13 step-up transformers. US-based First Solar was awarded the estimated AED124m contract to build the first phase of the park in October 2012.

When completed, the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park is planned to have a total capacity of 1,000MW. The park is scheduled to contribute 5 per cent of Dubai’s power-generation resources by 2030, as part of the emirate’s Integrated Energy Strategy. The project is under the umbrella of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and operated by Dewa. The solar park is expected to receive AED12bn of investment by 2030.

The proposed IPP schemes are planned to form a key part of Dubai’s long-term plans to diversify its energy mix, as set out in the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030. However, while those in Dubai’s finance and power sectors expect the solar project to go ahead, there is still scepticism on whether the coal project will ever reach fruition.

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