The contract to build and run the largest solar energy plant in the world in Abu Dhabi is to be awarded within months, it has been confirmed.

Bids are currently being scrutinised for the Al Dhafra facility, which will cover around 20 square kilometres, and it is hoped will be producing power by mid-2022.

It will be significantly larger than the Noor solar plant, which is currently running in Abu Dhabi and began commercial operations last year, and is the largest single-site facility of its kind globally.

The new solar plant will be built around 50km south of Abu Dhabi city.

“We always have a lot of interest from the market,” said Adel Al Saeedi, director of the privatisation at Emirates Water and Electricity Company. “We are under the process of evaluating and comparing all the bids. We are expecting to sign the agreement by the first quarter of this year and financially close by the second quarter.

“The project company will be developing, financing, designing, engineering, construction and commissioning.”

The new plant, along with a new nuclear power station, is seen as essential in helping the UAE hit its target of generating half of its energy from clean sources by 2050.

Solar power has rapidly become more cost efficient over recent years. When it opened, Noor provided the lowest price in the world for non-subsidised solar.

The new plant in Al Dhafra will produce up to almost double the power of Noor, offering a capacity of two gigawatts. The successful company will own 40 percent of the new plant, with the majority stake owned by Abu Dhabi Power Corporation.

Significantly, the tender for the new plant also includes specifications around battery storage systems.

“It was actually in the beginning not an easy decision but we wanted to test the market, to see if this technology is economically feasible,” Mr Al Saeedi said. “Luckily, we have got very good proposals on this.

“It’s important for us to have the lowest competitive bid [in terms of price] but at the same time it has to be compliant with our requirements and deliverable.” (The National)
New Abu Dhabi Climate Initiative to fast-track efforts to protect the planet ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

A forward-thinking Abu Dhabi effort to fast-track the fight against climate change and create a “more sustainable future for all” has been launched.

The Abu Dhabi Climate Initiative – a collective campaign spearheaded by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in tandem with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Global Market and Hub71 – aims to draw on technology and talent to protect the planet and fuel economic growth.

The pioneering partnership pledged to accelerate research and development in water and climate technology to cement the UAE’s position as a global leader in climate action.

The initiative was formally announced on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week on Wednesday.

“Today, we have a prime opportunity to embark on a new era of economic growth through climate action,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment at the launch event.

“It is our shared responsibility to our planet and all its living creatures to focus on this opportunity, and work to ensure that climate action improves health and well-being while creating new jobs and industries.

“We truly believe that we can move the needle forward on sustainable climate action through new technologies and bring hope to the voices demanding a better future.
“Through this synergy, we seek to drive innovation with the aim of shaping a more sustainable future for all. The Abu Dhabi Climate Initiative is the first platform in the region dedicated to accelerating the research and development of climate and water technologies and to supporting the shift towards a climate-resilient economy.”

The partnership will oversee the creation of the Climate Lab, the Sustain Think Tank and the UAE Development Aid and Technical Assistance body.

The Climate Lab incubator will assist climate and water tech entrepreneurs and startups in number of ways.

One strategy will involve the foundation of Emerge 10, in which 10 entrepreneurs and startups with the highest potential for growth in emerging markets will be provided with customised incentive packages to bring their eco-friendly projects to fruition.
The Climate Lab will also set up the Global Incubator, the world’s first incubator for clean technology for emerging markets with a focus on climate and water tech. The lab will collaborate with UAE-based academic institutions and international decision makers to support home-grown innovative solutions and pilot business models.

The Sustain Think Tank, based at ADGM, aims to lead the conversation on pressing issues such as sustainable finance and climate change technology.

The UAE Development Aid and Technical Assistance will offer strategic advice and technical support for emerging markets across water and waste management, renewable energy and sustainability.

“We are pleased to be part of the ministry’s novel initiative that aims to accelerate research and development in areas that reinforce the UAE’s commitment to climate action and a greener future,” said Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and chairman of ADGM.

“As an international financial centre and business hub, ADGM has established an inclusive ecosystem that encourages innovation and technology adoption to assist the UAE’s key industries in addressing their funding needs and growth plans while achieving their sustainability goals.

“We will work closely with the Ministry and other partners to foster the development of new water- and climate-related technologies for a more sustainable economy and environment.” (The National)