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Dubai makes progress on first hydroelectric plant

The $523mn hydroelectric plant will use water stored in the Hatta Dam

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DEWA is backing the construction of the Hatta hydroelectric plant, which France's EDF is also working on
DEWA is backing the construction of the Hatta hydroelectric plant, which France's EDF is also working on

Engineering studies have been completed for Dubai’s $523m (AED1.92bn) Hatta hydroelectric plant.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is developing the 250MW power station, which will use water stored in the Hatta Dam.

The engineering studies form part of a $16m (AED58m) consultancy contract handed to France-headquartered EDF Group by DEWA in June 2017.

Its scope includes design, hydro-geological, geological, environmental, geotechnical, and deep excavation studies.

Moreover, the contract covers consultancy services for deep-water tunnel designs, the upper reservoir and hydroelectric power station, tenders for material supply, supervision of construction work, site installation, on-site testing, and commissioning.

The Hatta project will generate electricity by using the dam’s water, which can total up to 1.7 billion gallons. An upper reservoir will also be built 330m above the dam-level in the mountains, which will offer additional storage capacity of 880 million gallons.

Turbines using clean and inexpensive solar energy will pump water from the lower dam to the upper reservoir during off-peak hours, whereas during peak hours, turbines will be operated using the upper reservoir’s waterfall speed to generate electricity.

This electricity will be linked to DEWA’s grid, with overall power production efficiency expected to reach 90% through the plant’s operations, which can span 80 years.

Commenting on the project, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer of DEWA, said: “As part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we have launched several projects, including the hydroelectric power station, at a cost of [$523m].”

Al Tayer said that hydropower, while a low-cost, reliable, and efficient energy source, has huge worldwide potential.

“It is estimated that storage hydropower represents 99% of the world’s operational electricity storage,” he explained.

“Hydropower is one of the most flexible and sustainable renewable energy sources [and] can be operated to provide base-load power, as well as peak-load supply through pumped-storage.

“However, estimates indicate the availability of approximately 10,000TWh/year [terawatt-hours] of unutilised hydropower potential worldwide,” he added, according to Dubai Media Office.

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