Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has unveiled plans for the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum solar park, a 1,000MW multi-technology solar project.
The megaproject will cover 48 square kilometres at Seih al-Dahal, located south east of Dubai city. A collection of facilities using photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP) trough and solar power tower technology will feature at the site.
According to Waleed Salman, Dewa’s vice-president for strategy and business development, the project will be built in phases and it is not yet clear how much each section of the project will account for, although he says: “more than 50 per cent – perhaps 70 per cent – will come from CSP”.
The first facility to be developed at the site will be a 10MW photovoltaic solar project. At a cost of about AED120m ($33m), the project will be financed on balance sheet by six government bodies headed by the Supreme Council of Energy.
A tender for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors will be launched. The chief executive and secretary-general of the Supreme Energy Council, Nejib Zaafrani, said that an award is expected to be made by June. with work commencing shortly afterwards and first power produced by the fourth quarter of 2013. The power plant will be connected to Dewa’s grid.
According to Dewa, the solar park will require a total investment of about AED12.6bn ($3.5bn). While the first phase will be government-procured, subsequent projects could be financed by the private sector. According to Salman, this could take the form of independent power projects (IPPs) in a similar structure already employed for traditional power plants.
Dewa has also said that it intends to establish a clean energy fund, which will be a vehicle for private sector finance for new renewable energy projects, including projects in the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum solar park.
Speaking at the launch of the solar park, Dewa officials commented on the potential for the introduction of a tariff mechanisms to promote renewable energy. “We are considering feed-in tariffs [for renewable energy],” said Zaafrani.
Dubai currently has around 4.5MW of installed solar power capacity. The largest project is at Meydan and has a capacity of 750kW. Other projects are at Jebel Ali and the Palm Jumeirah.