The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has announced the contract award for the world’s largest solar power 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 rigorous procurement process resulted in 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 expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.
Speaking about the milestone, Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, said that they are delighted 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 significant 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 in 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 utilisation of best-in-class technology further demonstrate the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating the nation’s progress on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. “Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2 GW,” he added.
The Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to provide approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity. It will be larger than TAQA’s existing 1.2 GW ‘Noor Abu Dhabi’ solar plant, which is currently the world’s largest operational single-project solar PV plant.