The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) announced the world’s largest concentrated solar power project, located at a single-site in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched this project. DEWA has awarded the project to Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and China’s Shanghai Power. This project is a part of Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 goals, which targets to have 7% of clean energy by 2050.
The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year 2020, or in early 2021, which will generate 1,000 megawatts and by the end of the year 2030 when all five phases will be commissioned, it will generate a whopping 5,000 megawatts, nearly 25% of the power output of Emirates. It will have the world’s tallest solar tower, measuring 260 meters. The estimated cost of the project is Dh14.2 billion.
Concentrated solar power plants, use a different technology than photovoltaic cells. These plants have a large array of mirrors called heliostats. With the help of these mirrors, a large area of sunlight is concentrated onto a small area, typically on top of a tower. This concentrated light gets converted to heat, which drives a steam turbine coupled to an electrical power generator to generate electricity. The major advantage of CSP over the conventional solar power plants is the thermal heat can be stored very easily and thus enabling CSP to produce electricity after sunset.
The proposed plant at Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will have several thousand heliostats located around a tower. Upon completing this CSP, the plant will deliver electricity at less than 8 US cents per kilowatt-hour, far less than the present typical rate of 15 US cents. This solar park is expected to reduce 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions per annum. It’s a fact that Dubai and its partners in the United Arab Emirates are a few of the most oil-rich locations globally. Despite this, they have ambitious goals to direct their economies away from fossil fuels.