To produce cost effective electricity at $1.35/kWh
The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), a leading company in the coordination of planning, purchasing and providing of water and electricity across the UAE, announced the award for the world’s largest solar power plant.
The project was awarded to a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, with partners EDF and JinkoPower, for the development of the 2 GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project, which will be located approximately 35 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city.
The project’s power purchase agreement (PPA) and shareholders’ agreement were signed with EWEC.
The rigorous procurement process resulted in one of the most cost-competitive tariffs for solar PV energy, set at AED 4.97 fils/kWh (USD 1.35 cents/kWh) on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) basis.
60% will be owned by a consortium comprising TAQA and Masdar, while the remaining 40% will be owned by EDF and JinkoPower.
Upon full commercial operation, the plant is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.
The project’s financial closure is expected to occur in Q3 2020, enabling initial power generation in H1 2022 and full generation by H2 2022. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2 GW.
Speaking about the milestone, Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, said: “We are delighted to work with our partners and sign a PPA with a record-low tariff for solar power. We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs."
Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director at TAQA, said: “The Al Dhafra Solar PV plant is a benchmark project for our nation and the global energy sector.
"The project’s low tariff and utilisation of best-in-class technology further demonstrate the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating our nation’s progress on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050."
The Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to provide approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity. It will be larger than TAQA’s existing 1.2 GW ‘Noor Abu Dhabi’ solar plant, which is currently the world’s largest operational single-project solar PV plant.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “Through the award of the Al Dhafra project, the UAE is affirming once again its determination to lead the global transition to cleaner energy sources, deploying the latest advances in solar power technology at tremendous scale cost efficiently."
Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, said: “The project will use the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology delivering electricity to the highest efficiency and at a world record-low tariff in such irradiation conditions."
Charles Bai, President of JinkoPower International Business, commented: “Today, Jinko and our partners are proud to begin to execute the world’s largest PV project and diligently deliver the latest world class technology and construction methods.”