Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, and Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Energy, visited the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, along with the control-centre compound at Warsan.
They were received by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, Waleed Salman, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Hussain Lootah, Executive Vice President of Transmission Power at DEWA, and Dr. Yousef Al Akraf, Executive Vice President of Business Support and Human Resources at DEWA, who attended the meeting, along with other DEWA staff members.
Al Mazrouei’s first visit was to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is managed and operated by DEWA. Al Tayer spoke in depth about the phases of the park’s development. The park is the largest single-site project to generate electricity from solar energy in the world, based upon an independent power producer (IPP) model. The 13 megawatt (MW) first phase of the project became operational in October 2013, while the 200MW second phase will begin operating in April 2017. Plans call for it to produce 1,000MW of electricity by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030. Officials noted that the solar park will help reduce 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
DEWA has received five bids for the park’s 800MW third phase, with the lowest at USD 2.99 cents per kilowatt (kW). The next step in the bidding process will review the technical and commercial aspects of the proposals to select the best bid.
The delegation also visited the construction sites for the R&D centre and the innovation centre, which is to be completed by 2018, as well as the main AED275 million 400/132kV substation at the solar park, which has a conversion capacity of 1,515 megavolt amperes (MVA), in addition to the solar-powered water pumping and desalination station that uses photovoltaic solar panels to desalinate water with Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. This has a production capacity of 50 cubic meters per day to provide R&D facilities in the park with high-quality drinking water.
The project is part of DEWA’s efforts to improve research and development. DEWA cooperates with international organisations to research water desalination using solar energy. This supports DEWA’s, and the UAE Water Aid Foundation's (Suqia), efforts to provide clean water to the needy, and also contributes to financing and supporting water-technology projects to combat drought.
Al Tayer welcomed the Minister of Energy and outlined the close ties between DEWA and the Ministry to promote sustainability and green growth by diversifying the energy mix and increasing the share of clean energy to contribute to the protection of the environment by reducing carbon emissions and building a knowledge economy.
Al Tayer also briefed Al Mazrouei on the most important projects at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, including the interactive Innovation Centre, equipped with the latest technologies in clean and renewable energy, enhancing the capabilities of national renewable and sustainable energy, R&D centres that specialise in clean energy technologies, solar-powered desalination, and others.
Al Tayer noted that the Innovation Centre develops techniques that can improve the performance of photovoltaic units based upon climate conditions in the region. The solar testing centre studies, evaluates, and tests the long-term stability and reliability of 30 types of photovoltaic panels, using the most sophisticated and accurate equipment. The highest standards and techniques of testing, controlling, monitoring, evaluation and reporting are applied.
The centre also tests solar cell and photovoltaic panel technologies and manufacturing to evaluate protection, flexibility, and other specifications to cope with different weather conditions and the surrounding environment, in both open spaces and when integrated into buildings. Al Mazrouei commended DEWA and added that DEWA has become a role model to all UAE organisations by providing the highest international levels of electricity and water.