The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), announced it has awarded Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, with partners EDF and JinkoPower, the contract to build a 2 GW solar power plant.
The Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project, which will be located 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 levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) basis. 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.
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. Combined with key technological advances, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply, and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector’s transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE.”
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. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2 GW.”
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.
Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, said: “For EDF, the signing of the PPA for Al Dhafra Solar PV is a testimony of the confidence that the government and EWEC have in our industrial abilities. 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.”
Through this project, 60 per cent will be owned by a consortium comprising TAQA and Masdar, while the remaining 40 per ceny will be owned by EDF and JinkoPower. 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.