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  • Sheikh Mohammed inaugurates Dubai CSP plant


    7 December 2023

    Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has inaugurated the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park in Dubai.

    The 950MW fourth phase of the MBR solar park required an investment of AED15.78bn ($4.34bn).

    It uses hybrid technologies: 600MW from a parabolic basin complex, 100MW from the CSP tower, and 250MW from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

    The independent power producer (IPP) project features the tallest solar tower in the world, at 263.126 metres, and a thermal energy storage facility with a capacity of 5,907 megawatt-hours (MWh), the world's largest according to the Guinness World Records.

    The project covers an area of 44 square kilometres. It features 70,000 heliostats that track the sun’s movement. The molten salt receiver (MSR) on top of the solar power tower is the core and the most important part of the CSP plant. It receives solar radiation and turns it into thermal energy.

    The MSR contains over 1,000 thin tubes that enable the absorption of sun rays and their transfer to the molten salt within these tubes.

    The project can power approximately 320,000 residences with clean and sustainable energy. It will reduce carbon emissions by about 1.6 million tonnes annually.

    The completion of the project's fourth phase brings the total capacity of the MBR solar park to 2,863MW so far. The phases and their capacities are:

    • 13MW solar PV phase one: Completed in 2013
    • 200MW solar PV phase two: Commissioned in 2017
    • 800MW solar PV phase three: Commissioned in 2020
    • 950MW hybrid CSP/solar PV phase four: Inaugurated in 2023
    • 900MW solar PV phase five: Commissioned in 2023

    Dewa is aiming for the MBR development to reach 5,000MW of capacity by 2030. It recently awarded the UAE-based Masdar the contract to develop the solar park's sixth phase, which has capacity of 1,800MW.

    Project background

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) awarded a consortium of Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and China's Silk Road Fund the contract to develop a 700MW CSP plant with storage for the fourth phase scheme in November 2017. Since then, the project has been expanded to include a 250MW solar PV component.

    Acwa Power then awarded Shanghai Electric the $3.8bn EPC contract for the hybrid CSP/PV plant in early 2018.

    The project reached financial closure in March 2019. The cost will be met through $2.9bn of debt and $1.5bn of equity.

    According to the project structure, Dewa is to provide $750m, or half of the project equity. Project developers Acwa Power and the Silk Road Fund will provide 51 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, of the remaining equity.

    The fourth phase project achieved a tariff of 7.3 $cents a kilowatt hour ($c/kWh) for the CSP component and 2.4$c/kWh for the PV capacity, two of the lowest tariffs for CSP and PV solar technology in the world at the time of award.

    Dewa holds a 51 per cent stake in the project company, Noor Energy 1, set up to develop the plant, with Acwa Power and the Silk Road Fund holding the remaining stake. The developer consortium has signed a 35-year power-purchase agreement to supply power to Dubai’s grid.

    Photo: Wam

    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Firms win Saudi Landbridge


    7 December 2023


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    The team of US-based Hill International, Italy’s Italferr and Spain’s Sener has been awarded the contract to provide project management services for the estimated $7bn Saudi Landbridge project.

    The Landbridge is a rail project that will connect the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia in the west and the Gulf coast in the east. It is one of the largest infrastructure projects planned in Saudi Arabia. The scheme is being implemented by the Saudi Railway Company (SAR).

    Project scope

    The project comprises six lines. The first line involves upgrading the Jubail Industrial City internal network, which is currently under construction. It will require 10 kilometres (km) of track to be built.

    The second is the upgrade of the Jubail to Dammam railway line, which is also currently under construction. It will require 35km of track to be built.

    The third line involves the upgrade of the Dammam to Riyadh railway line, with 87km of track to be built. 

    The fourth line, known as the Riyadh bypass, is from the existing network in the north of the city to the south. It is split into two packages: the first has 67km of track, and the second has 35km.

    The fifth line is a link from Riyadh to Jeddah and then on to King Abdullah Port with three stations at Jamuma, Moya and Al-Doadmi. The Riyadh to Jeddah line will have 920km of track, and the Jeddah to King Abdullah Port link will have 146km of track.

    The sixth line is a new 172km line from King Abdullah Port to Yanbu Industrial City.

    There will also be seven logistics centres: Jubail Industrial City Logistics Centre, Damman Logistics Dry Port, a relocated Riyadh Dry Port, King Khalid Airport Logistics Centre in Riyadh, Jeddah Logistics Dry Port, King Abdullah Port Logistics Centre and Yanbu Industrial City Logistics Centre.

    Contractor negotiations

    MEED reported in November that negotiations with the Saudi China Landbridge Consortium that will build the rail link are in the final stages.

    The consortium signed a memorandum of understanding to implement the project on a public-private partnership basis in October 2018. It was formed by SAR and China Civil Engineering Construction Company.

    Al-Ayuni Contracting was named as the local partner for the consortium. Other members include French firms Systra and Thales; Canada’s WSP; Aldhabaan & Partners, the local partner of UK legal consultancy Eversheds & Sutherland; ALG Infrastructure; and Calx Consultancy.
    Colin Foreman
  • Siemens Energy wins five Iraq substation contracts


    6 December 2023

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    Iraq's Electricity Ministry has awarded Germany-headquartered Siemens Energy a contract to deliver five high-voltage substations on a turnkey basis in Iraq.

    The 400-kilovolt (kV) substations will be installed in Baghdad, Diyala, Najaf, Karbala and Basra.

    Each substation will have a capacity of 1,500MW. Work on the substation projects is expected to commence in early 2024.

    German export credit agency Allianz Trade Trust, formerly Euler Hermes, will provide most of the project financing in collaboration with Iraq's Finance Ministry.

    MEED understands the substations address the increasing demand for power transmission in Iraq, providing power to around 2.5 million homes.

    On 5 December, a consortium led by K&K Group, which includes Siemens Energy, announced that it is moving ahead with a detailed study for an electricity corridor, known as Green Vein, whose initial stage will have the capacity to transmit up to 3GW of clean electricity from Egypt to Italy.

    Italian companies Cesi and Prysmian Group comprise the rest of the consortium planning to develop the Green Vein project.

    It entails the installation of a submarine high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) cable, which extends approximately 2,800 kilometres and reaches sea depths of up to 3,000 metres.

    The cable will connect the West Sohag area in Egypt to the Dolo substation near the Mestre Industrial Area in Italy.

    The project's initial capacity of 3GW equates to approximately 5 per cent of Italy's peak electricity demand.

    Image: Pixabay
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Masdar signs Jordan wind and hydrogen pacts


    6 December 2023

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    Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has signed a joint development agreement with the Jordanian Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources (MEMR) to develop a 1GW wind project with a battery energy storage system (bess).

    A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the feasibility of establishing a green hydrogen plant in the country has also been inked.

    According to Masdar, the study will examine the feasibility of establishing a green hydrogen project near Aqaba Port to produce the “most cost-competitive hydrogen, utilising desalinated seawater, and dedicated renewable power”.

    Saleh al-Kharabsheh, minister of energy and mineral resources in Jordan, said signing these agreements will help advance the ministry’s priorities and the Economic Modernisation Vision covering the years 2023 to 2033.

    The programme includes investment in green hydrogen production projects, which are “part of Jordan’s initiatives to transition towards the use of clean energy as it aims to achieve net zero”.

    Masdar signed an MoU with MEMR to explore developing renewable energy projects with a total capacity of up to 2GW on the sidelines of Cop27 in Egypt last year.

    Masdar has maintained a presence in Jordan for almost 10 years. In 2015, it delivered the 117MW Tafila wind farm. It is also the developer and lead partner on the 20MW Baynouna project, located east of Amman.

    Hydrogen push

    Jordan is preparing to sign five new green hydrogen deals during the Cop28 climate summit, MEED reported in November.

    This follows the signing of several MoUs with partners for four planned green hydrogen and derivatives facilities in the country.

    The MEMR signed deals with the following companies on 14 November:

    • Amarenco (Ireland)/H2 Global Energy (Switzerland) 
    • Kawar Energy Company (local)
    • Philadelphia Solar Energy Company (local)
    • Enertrag (Germany)

    Kawar Energy plans to set up a production facility with an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes of green ammonia, while Philadelphia Solar Energy Company intends to establish a plant that can produce 100,000-200,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of green ammonia.

    Enertrag’s plan involves creating a site capable of producing 200,000 t/y of green ammonia.

    A consortium comprising Ireland’s Amarenco and Switzerland-based H2 Global Energy said its planned project in Jordan is estimated to require an investment of €9bn ($9.7bn). 

    Upon completion, the facility aims to produce 1 million metric tonnes of green ammonia a year. The production process will require up to 4,500MW of renewable energy capacity.

    Photo: Masdar
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Firms to proceed with 3GW Egypt-Italy link


    5 December 2023

    A team led by K&K Group is moving ahead with a detailed study for an electricity corridor whose initial stage will have the capacity to transmit up to 3GW of clean electricity from Egypt to Italy.

    This follows the completion of the project's initial feasibility study, the consortium said in a statement issued on 5 December.

    Italy's Cesi and Prysmian Group, along with Germany's Siemens Energy, are part of the consortium planning to develop the project known as Green Vein.

    The project entails the installation of a submarine high-voltage, direct current (HVDC), which extends approximately 2,800 kilometres and reaches sea depths of up to 3,000 metres.

    The cable will connect the West Sohag area in Egypt to the Dolo substation near the Mestre Industrial Area in Italy.

    The project's initial capacity of 3GW equates to approximately 5 per cent of Italy's peak electricity demand.

    According to the statement, the corridor is set to create "strategic power links and energy hubs that will bridge the EU, Mena, and Africa, fostering cooperation and integration of power systems across these regions."

    It added: "In Egypt, the plan to significantly increase renewable electricity generation capacity highlights the corridor's role. Through this project, the renewable plants in Egypt are expected to save approximately 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually."

    Earlier this year, it was reported that the two countries were expected to sign an agreement worth an estimated $3.5bn to link their electricity grids.

    This follows several rounds of talks on the $3.5bn project, Arabic-language Egyptian daily Addustoor said at the time

    Italy is understood to have secured funds from local and European sources for its part of the project.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Neom in desalination contractor talks


    5 December 2023

    A consortium of Neom subsidiary Enowa, Japan’s Itochu and France’s Veolia is still undertaking discussions with potential engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors for the planned zero liquid discharge (ZLD) seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant in Neom.

    According to a source close to the project, active discussions are under way and an EPC contractor has not yet been selected.

    MEED reported in November that the detailed technical design for the project was being carried out.

    The three companies signed a joint development agreement to develop the scheme the following month.

    The project is understood to require an investment of between $1.5bn and $2bn.

    In June last year, Enowa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Itochu and Veolia to develop the plant, which will be powered by renewable energy in Oxagon, Neom’s industrial cluster.

    At the time, the team said the project’s target commercial operation date is 2025.

    The plant is expected to meet about 30 per cent of Neom’s projected total water demand once complete. 

    Advanced technology

    In addition to using 100 per cent renewable energy, the proposed state-of-the-art desalination plant will use advanced membrane technology to produce separate brine streams.

    This will enable the production of brine-derived products, which will be developed and monetised downstream.

    The project will convert brine, the main waste output of desalination, into industrial materials that can be used locally or exported internationally.

    According to Enowa, brine generated from the desalination plant will be treated to feed industries utilising high-purity industrial salt, bromine, boron, potassium, gypsum, magnesium and rare metal feedstocks.

    Neom appointed Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as financial adviser for the project. UK-based DLA Piper is the legal adviser and Canada’s WSP is the technical adviser. 

    In March this year, Australian consultancy Worley said it had commenced work to provide engineering and advisory services to Enowa for the project, which will deliver up to 2 million cubic metres of desalinated water a day (cm/d) to Neom.

    The services will be executed by both Advisian, Worley’s global consulting business, and Worley staff.

    Advisian will focus on advisory, consulting and pre-front-end engineering and design (feed) activities, while Worley will deliver feed, detailed engineering, procurement and project management services.

    The project scopes relate to water production, brine beneficiation, management and storage.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Enec and US firm sign Natrium technology deal


    4 December 2023

    The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with TerraPower, a US-based nuclear innovation company.

    Enec and TerraPower will collaborate in the technical design and commercial viability of the TerraPower Natrium technology development in the UAE and the US.

    The Natrium technology is co-developed by TerraPower with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. It features a cost-competitive sodium fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system.

    According to TerraPower, this unique combination "will provide clean, flexible energy and stability, and integrate seamlessly into power grids with high penetrations of renewables".

    The technology will be used for clean electricity generation and non-traditional applications "such as green molecule generation, clean hydrogen production and ways to accelerate decarbonisation of energy-intensive sectors through the provision of carbon-free electricity".

    The MoU was signed on the sidelines of Cop28 by Ahmed al-Mazroui, Enec nuclear research and development vice-president, and Chris Levesque, TerraPower president and CEO.

    Mohamed al-Hammadi, Enec managing director and CEO, Bill Gates, TerraPower chairman, and David Livingston, senior advisor and managing director for energy for the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, witnessed the signing of the MoU.

    According to Enec, the two companies will assess ways to optimise the use of the Natrium technology for grid stability through energy storage capabilities.

    It added: "The MoU will enable both parties to analyse opportunities to collaborate on engineering, workforce and supply chain development, supporting projects within the UAE with potential secondments of emirati engineers to TerraPower’s headquarters in the US."
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Abu Dhabi to reach green iron investment decision


    4 December 2023

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    UAE-based Emirates Steel Arkan and Japan’s Itochu Corporation, along with JFE Steel Corporation, expect to reach a financial investment decision for a project to develop a ferrous raw material production facility in Abu Dhabi sometime next year.

    JFE Steel Corporation will serve as both offtaker and joint venture partner for the low-carbon iron supply chain project, according to Kenji Otsuka, CEO of Itochu Middle East.

    MEED reported in September 2022 that Emirates Steel Arkan and the two Japanese companies would conduct a feasibility study for the project together.

    The project is integral to a global low-carbon emission iron supply chain and will help meet the growing demand for green steel, Emirates Steel Arkan said at the time.

    As part of the initial plan, high-grade iron ore will be imported into Abu Dhabi to produce the ferrous raw material. This is expected to begin in the second half of 2025.

    The ferrous raw material will initially be produced through an enhanced decarbonised process using natural gas to reduce the iron ore.

    The project also makes provisions for the adoption of renewable energy power sources as well as green hydrogen for the reduction process.

    Image: Pixabay
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
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