Top 10 UAE clean energy projects

18 October 2023

 

Register for MEED's guest programme 

The UAE is expected to showcase its growing green credentials at the Cop28 climate summit, which starts on 30 November in Dubai.

In addition to gradually phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and eliminating methane flaring, UAE-based energy and utility companies have mobilised multibillion-dollar public and private investments in utility-scale clean and renewable energy plants, reverse osmosis technology-based water desalination plants and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects.   

These projects aim to reduce harmful emissions – mainly carbon dioxide – offsetting the environmental impact of the country’s oil industry while it aims to meet its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for the Paris Agreement, its energy diversification agenda set in 2017, as well as its 2050 net-zero target.

Barakah nuclear power plant

Three of the four reactors at the $29bn Barakah nuclear power plant, located close to the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia, are operational. Each unit can produce 1,400MW of electricity. The UAE is also looking for opportunities to export its nuclear expertise by investing in and developing nuclear power plants overseas.

Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park

The UAE’s first and largest solar photovoltaic (PV) installation is located 50 kilometres away from the Cop28 venue. Nearly all the first five phases of the solar park are operational, with a total combined installed capacity of more than 2.4GW. The project’s fourth phase, probably the world’s largest hybrid solar PV and concentrated solar power plant, is nearing completion. The contract to develop the project’s sixth phase, which is designed to have an installed capacity of 1.8GW, has been awarded this year.

Sweihan and Al-Dhafra solar power plants

Abu Dhabi’s first solar PV plant, the 935MW Sweihan independent power project (IPP), began operating in 2019. The UAE capital’s second utility-scale solar PV IPP in Al-Dhafra, which has a capacity of 1.5GW, is expected to be inaugurated imminently. Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) received world-record-low tariffs, as has Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa), for these projects.

Taweelah reverse osmosis facility

With a capacity of 200 million imperial gallons a day, the plant is the world’s largest reverse osmosis-based water desalination facility. Half of the plant’s capacity was completed in 2022, with the other half now in the final commissioning stage. Taweelah is the country’s first independent water producer project, which resulted from the drive to decouple water and power production as a key initiative to decarbonise both sectors.

Reyadah CCUS

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) have been operating the Al-Reyadah carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) facility since 2016. It can capture up to 800,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of carbon dioxide. About 240,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), collected by Al-Reyadah from Emirates Steel Industries, has been injected into Adnoc's reservoirs at its Rumaitha and Bab oil fields to bolster oil recovery.

The project is in line with Adnoc’s commitment to decarbonise its operations, reduce its carbon intensity by 25 per cent by 2030, and deliver on its net zero by 2045 goal. Adnoc estimates the volume of CO2 being locked away underground daily through CCUS deployment across its reservoirs is equivalent to the emissions of more than 1 million vehicles.

Habshan CCUS

Adnoc Gas recently awarded UK-headquartered Petrofac the main contract for a project to develop a $615m carbon capture facility at its Habshan gas processing complex in Abu Dhabi. The Habshan CCUS facility will have the capacity to capture and permanently store 1.5 million t/y of CO2 within geological formations deep underground.

The Habshan CO2 recovery project will be built, operated and maintained by Adnoc Gas and is expected to be commissioned in 2026. The proposed facility will feature carbon capture units at the Habshan gas processing plant, pipeline infrastructure and a network of wells for CO2 injection into oil and gas fields in Abu Dhabi.

Captured CO2 will be permanently stored in reservoirs deep in the sub-surface by deploying closed-loop CO2 capture and reinjection technology at the well site at Adnoc Onshore’s Bab Far North Field, located about 240 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi city.

Street lighting PPP

Abu Dhabi awarded two public-private partnership (PPP) contracts in 2020 and 2022 to replace over 176,000 street lights with LED lights. The first phase of the 12-year PPP project is designed to save the municipality AED264m ($71.9m), while the larger second phase is designed to result in cost savings amounting to close to $200m. The project's phase two aims to reduce power consumption by 74 per cent over the 12-year concession period, equivalent to almost 2,400 million kilowatt hours of electricity savings.

Green data centre

Work is progressing on the first phase of the 100MW data centre powered by solar energy at Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Hub Integrated Solutions (Moro Hub), a Dewa subsidiary, is the project client. The data centre is envisaged to become the largest solar-powered Uptime Tier 3-certified data centre in the Middle East and Africa, offering digital products and services based on fourth industrial revolution technologies, such as cloud services. The project supports the emirate’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the UAE 2031 Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Hydrogen pilot site

Dewa, in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and Germany’s Siemens Energy, inaugurated the AED50m ($14m) green hydrogen plant at Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park in 2021. The integrated facility was developed with electrolysis, storage and re-electrification capabilities. Daylight solar power from the solar park will enable the pilot project to produce about 20.5 kilograms an hour of hydrogen at 1.25MW of peak power.

Large green hydrogen projects

There is an expectation that the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy will issue the UAE capital's green hydrogen policy before the start of, or during, the Cop28 climate summit. If this happens, planned green hydrogen projects worth at least $12bn could see rapid progress.

These projects include the 150MW green hydrogen-based ammonia production plant in Ruwais being developed by France's Engie and Abu Dhabi's Fertiglobe and Masdar; the $1bn green ammonia facility being planned by a South Korean-led consortium in Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi (Kezad); and the Masdar City green hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel project being developed by Masdar, France's Total Energies, Germany’s Siemens Energy and Japan's Marubeni Corporation.

Other projects that are likely to be highlighted include the planned 400MW battery energy storage system in Abu Dhabi and the seawater reverse osmosis facilities that are under construction or in the bid phase across the UAE. 

Projects to retrofit public buildings to improve their sustainability, and the adoption of district cooling and electric vehicle policies, among others, will also likely share the spotlight as the UAE prepares to host its most important event of 2023.

https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11228094/main1001.jpg
Jennifer Aguinaldo
Related Articles
  • Egypt resumes power cuts

    18 April 2024

    Power cuts resumed across Egypt on 15 April, with scheduled power outages lasting a maximum of one hour per grid zone between 11am and 5pm daily.

    The scheduled power outages began last year and were suspended during Ramadan.

    The electricity ministry has confirmed that, since no new amendments to the load reduction plan have been issued, the power cut plan will continue indefinitely, adding that the outages are expected to last "until at least the end of summer, due to increased grid demand during the hotter months".

    The government-initiated load-shedding programme initially aimed to rein in rising electricity consumption and reduce pressure on the country's gas network.

    According to the country’s Electricity & Renewable Energy Ministry, national electricity consumption reached 43,650MW in mid-July last year, up significantly from previous highs of about 31,000MW.

    While the record-high consumption level is still below the official generation installed capacity of close to 60,000MW, consumption levels of 34,000MW–36,000MW will require about 129-146 million cubic metres of gas and diesel a day.

    Barring load-shedding, any increase in consumption beyond 36,000MW will require a commensurate increase in gas and diesel, which is understood to be beyond the government’s capacity to procure.

    Crucially, the other side of the electricity rationing initiative has to do with the need to save gas for exports, to boost the government’s dollar reserves in the face of the ongoing currency crisis.


    MEED’s latest special report on Egypt includes:

    Cairo secures a cumulative $54bn in financing
    Egypt faces political and economic trials

    Cairo beset by regional geopolitical storm
    More pain for more gain for Egypt
    Egypt oil and gas project activity declines
    Familiar realities threaten Egypt’s energy hub ambitions
    Egypt’s desalination projects inch forward
    > Infrastructure carries Egypt construction

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11694938/main5714.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Ewec wants carbon-capture readiness for next gas power plant

    17 April 2024

    The request for proposals (RFPs) that will be issued for the next combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant in Abu Dhabi will explicitly require the developers or developer consortiums to accommodate the installation of carbon-capture facilities once they are commercially viable.

    "A key part of the RFP is to make a declaration that this project will be carbon-capture ready … that such facility will be installed as part of the project once carbon-capture solutions become commercially viable," Andy Biffen, executive director of asset development at Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec), told the ongoing World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

    As MEED previously reported, Ewec is considering issuing a tender in the next few weeks for its first gas-fired independent power producer (IPP) project since 2020.

    The greenfield Taweelah C gas-fired IPP is planned to reach commercial operation by 2027, according to a recent Ewec capacity procurement statement.

    "We understand that they might skip the expressions of interest and request for qualifications stage and directly invite qualified developers to bid for the contract," two sources familiar with the project previously told MEED.

    The planned Taweelah C gas-fired IPP is expected to have a power generation capacity of 2,457MW.

    Ewec awarded its last CCGT IPP nearly four years ago. Japan's Marubeni Corporation won the contract to develop the Fujairah F3 IPP in 2020.

    The state utility is considering new gas-fired capacity in light of expiring capacity from several independent water and power producer (IWPP) facilities.

    The plants that will reach the end of their existing contracts during the 2023-29 planning period include:

    •  Shuweihat S1 (1,615MW, 101 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD)): expires in June 2025
    •  Sas Al Nakhl (1,670MW, 95MIGD): expires in July 2027
    •  Taweelah B (2,220MW, 160MIGD): expires in October 2028
    •  Taweelah A1 (1,671MW, 85MIGD): expires in July 2029

    Ewec and the developers and operators of these plants are expected to enter into discussions before the expiry of the contracts to decide whether a contract extension is possible. Unsuccessful negotiations will lead to the dismantling of the assets at the end of the contract period.

    In 2022, MEED reported that Abu Dhabi had wound down the operation of Taweelah A2, the region's first IWPP. The power and water purchase agreement supporting the project expired in September 2021 and was not extended.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11690735/main2323.gif
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Flooding spotlights Dubai construction quality

    17 April 2024

    Commentary
    Colin Foreman
    Editor

    Register for MEED's guest programme 

    The storm that engulfed Dubai on 16 April and the resulting flood damage will raise questions about the quality of construction in the emirate.

    Videos of extensive flood damage to property and infrastructure have been widely shared across social media, and those personally affected have questioned why the damage was so severe.

    There is not one single answer. The storm was said to be the most severe to have hit Dubai for decades, and some have described it as a 100-year storm. One other theory widely circulated during the day about it being caused by cloud seeding has been officially dismissed by the government.

    With such extreme weather, most will accept that some damage is inevitable. The question will be whether elements of the damage could have been prevented, which is where questions over construction quality will emerge.

    The two main concerns will be why buildings are not better waterproofed and infrastructure is not more effectively drained.

    Each flooding incident will have its own specific issues, but the reasons will come from three key areas: design, construction and maintenance. 

    Many projects will not have been designed to cope with such a deluge. Others will have been poorly constructed, allowing water to ingress into properties, and others will have drainage that was poorly maintained and failed when it was most needed.

    Dubai is heavily incentivised to address these concerns. In the past, Dubai has been a transient city with many expatriates living and working in the emirate for only a few years. There has been little collective memory of major weather incidents.

    As the emirate establishes itself as a permanent home for more people, including many property owners, that memory will now remain. Those memories may be painful today, but they will help guard against such severe damage in the future.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11690636/main.gif
    Colin Foreman
  • Abu Dhabi tenders 1.5GW Khazna solar contract

    17 April 2024

     

    Register for MEED's guest programme 

    State utility Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) has issued the request for proposals (RFP) for a contract to develop and operate the UAE capital's fourth utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project.

    The planned Khazna solar independent power project (IPP), also known as PV4, will have a capacity of 1,500MW.

    It will be located in Khazna, between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, and is expected to reach commercial operation by 2027.

    Ewec expects to receive bids for the contract "in the third quarter of 2024".  

    The state utility prequalified nine companies and consortiums as managing members and another 10 that can bid as consortium members.

    Parties or companies that are prequalified as managing members are free to bid either individually or as part of a consortium. These include:

    • Acwa Power (Saudi Arabia)
    • EDF Renewables (France)
    • International Power (Engie, France)
    • Jera Company (Japan)
    • Jinko Power (China)
    • Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kowepo, South Korea)
    • Marubeni Corporation (Japan)
    • Sumitomo Corporation (Japan)
    • TotalEnergies Renewables (France)

    The following companies can bid as part of a consortium with a managing member: 

    • Al Jomaih Energy & Water (Jena, Saudi Arabia)
    • Avaada Energy (India)
    • Buhur for Investment Company (Saudi Arabia)
    • China Machinery Engineering Corporation (China)
    • China Power Engineering Consulting Group International Engineering Corporation (CPECC, China)
    • Kalyon Enerji Yatrimlari (Turkey)
    • Korea Western Power Company (Kowepo, South Korea)
    • Orascom Construction (Egypt)
    • PowerChina International Group
    • SPIC Huanghe Hydropower Development (Spic, China)

    Ewec's PV1, or Noor Abu Dhabi, has a capacity of 935MW and has been operational since 2019.

    PV2, the 1,584MW Al Dhafra solar IPP, was inaugurated in November 2023. 

    Ewec is understood to have recently awarded the contract to develop PV3, the 1,500MW Al Ajban solar IPP, to a team led by French utility developer EDF Renewables and including South Korea's Korea Western Power Company (Kowepo).

    Ewec said solar energy is integral to achieving its target of producing nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable and clean energy sources by 2030.

    This is due to its "low generation cost and its contribution to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity generation process".

    Like the first three schemes, Khazna solar PV will involve the development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and ownership of the plant and associated infrastructure.

    The successful developer or developer consortium will own up to 40% of the entity, while the Abu Dhabi government will retain the remaining equity.

    The developer will enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with Ewec.

    Once fully operational, Khazna solar PV, along with Noor Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra solar PV and Al Ajban solar PV, will raise Ewec's total installed solar PV capacity to 5.5GW and collectively reduce CO2 emissions by more than 8.2 million metric tonnes a year by 2027. 

    UAE-wide target and capacity

    The UAE published its updated national energy strategy in July last year. It includes a plan to triple the nationwide renewable energy capacity to 19GW by 2030.

    The total installed renewable energy capacity of both Ewec and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) stood at about 5.5GW at the start of 2024.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11687552/main.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Ewec sets gas-free generation timeline

    17 April 2024

    Register for MEED's guest programme 

    Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) aims to build enough clean energy-based generation capacity and transmission infrastructure by 2029 to enable the provision of services without burning natural gas, subject to specific parameters.

    "We define 'zero-hour' as the first hour when we can deliberately operate the power system without burning gas to provide energy and ancillary services while maintaining system reliability within defined parameters," Bruce Smith, executive director, strategy and planning at Ewec, told the ongoing World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

    Ewec's zero-hour is likely to occur during daytime in the winter months, when demand is at its lowest – or about half its peak capacity – and the renewable energy plants are at their peak production. It will require sufficient clean energy capacity – mainly from nuclear, solar, wind and battery storage – as well as completely decoupled water and power production.

    The 2029 zero-hour target is expected to be reached a year ahead of the utility's target for renewable and clean energy sources to account for producing nearly 50% of its electricity.

    To be operable, Ewec's power system will have achieved the required gas system flexibility, gas plant flexibility, suitable human capability and digitally advanced control systems by 2029.

    Having flexible gas systems and plants is crucial for the zero-hour plan, as it will enable gas turbines to be turned on to meet up to 80% of the requirements at night, when the solar photovoltaic (PV) plants shift to battery energy storage.

    "To get there, we need to build gas storage," Smith explained, noting such infrastructure is key to achieving gas supply flexibility. "Gas storage is an essential component of the increasing requirement for gas flexibility."

    Electricity production mix

    Ewec's exisitng generation fleet includes three nuclear reactors with a total combined capacity of 4,200MW, three solar PV plants with a capacity of 2,529MW, a 100MW concentrated solar power plant and nine thermal power plants with a combined capacity of more than 15,100MW.

    Sources: Ewec, MEED

    The state utility recently awarded the contract to develop its third solar PV independent power project (IPP) in Ajban, which has a capacity of 1,500MW. On 16 April, it also issued the request for proposals for a contract to develop the similarly-sized Khazna solar IPP project.

    Ewec has invited companies to express an interest in developing its first two 200MW battery energy storage system facilities and will soon start the procurement process for the Taweelah C thermal power plant, which is expected to have a capacity of more than 2,457MW.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11689931/main.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo