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Dubai aims for largest CSP plant in the world

The entire project is expected to generate 1000MW once it is fully operational in 2030 within the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park at an estimated cost of Dh50bn, based on current rates

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The planned CSP project in Dubai will help in its drive to increase the energy mix
The planned CSP project in Dubai will help in its drive to increase the energy mix

Dubai is in the final stages of tendering the first phase of what is expected to result into the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) managing director and chief executive, Saeed Al Tayer, said on Thursday.

The developer for the 200MW initial phase of the project is expected to be announced early 2017. The tender for leading international CSP consultants is already out, while the bidding process is expected to commence in the next three months.

The entire project is expected to generate 1000MW once it is fully operational in 2030 within the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park at an estimated cost of Dh50bn, based on current rates.

Dubai is also looking to record the lowest CSP pricing in the world once the bidding starts.

“It is in our interest to have competitive rates,” said Al Tayer. “There is a possibility of rates going lower than $8.0 cents. We hope to set a new record in CSP pricing.”

“With the ongoing innovations and advancements in technology, we expect bidders to quote low rates,” he added.

Dubai has already set a record for the lowest PV solar pricing currently at $2.99 cents.

The 200MW is expected to be connected to the grid in April 2021 and to overtake Morocco’s Noor 1 160MW CSP as the world’s largest.

Unlike PV solar panels that use sunlight to generate direct electric current, CSP systems concentrate radiation of the sun to heat a liquid substance, which is then used to drive a heat engine and drive an electric generator. This indirect method generates alternating current (AC) which can be easily distributed on the power network.

“Thermal heat, which is used to produce electricity can be stored easily which makes it possible to produce electricity after sunset. The storage can last up to 12 hours,” said Al Tayer.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park will produce 1000MW by 2020 and a total of 5000MW by 2030. The13MW first phase became operational in October 2013 and the 200MW second phase will be operational in April 2017.

When it completed, the project will have a reduction of approximately 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Dewa is working to diversify Dubai’s energy mix to include 61% from natural gas, 25% from solar energy, 7% from clean coal and 7% from nuclear power by 2030. The mix will gradually lead to 75% generation from clean energy sources as per the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050.

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