The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has announced the contract award for the world’s largest solar energy plant project. 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 2GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project, which will be located approximately 35km from Abu Dhabi city. The project’s power purchase agreement (PPA) and shareholders’ agreement were signed with EWEC.
The severe procurement process gave rise to one of the most cost-competitive tariffs for solar PV energy, set at US $1.35 cents/kWh on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) basis. Upon full commercial operation, the plant is anticipated to ease Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per annum, like removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.
Speaking about the milestone, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, Othman Al Ali said that they are elated to work with the other 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 big 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 within the UAE,” he said.
Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director at TAQA, said that the Al Dhafra Solar PV plant is a benchmark project for the nation and the global energy sector. The project’s low tariff and employment of best-in-class technology further establish the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating the nation’s advancement on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. “Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar energy capacity to approximately 3.2 GW,” he stated.
The Al Dhafra Solar PV project is likely to deliver approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity. It will be greater than TAQA’s existing 1.2 GW ‘Noor Abu Dhabi’ solar plant, which is at this time the world’s largest operational single-project solar PV plant.