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Energy Transition in Middle East – EQ Mag Pro

Energy Transition in Middle East – EQ Mag Pro


As global warming and climate change continue to take centre stage, all around the world Governments are building more solar modules, wind farms, and hydroelectric power plants to generate power. Especially Government and big companies in the Middle East are supporting the energy transition by using innovative financial instruments to reduce or offset emissions.

Several countries are moving towards renewable energy resources and generating power through various energy resources.

Currently, the Middle East is competently on its way to becoming one of the prime Renewable Energy hubs in the world. The region is expected to install the power of almost 1000GW by 2025, through solar projects. Correspondingly storage projects are also picking up, pilot projects are already executed and Green hydrogen projects are also growing moderately.

The Middle East could play a vital role in reaching a carbon-neutral future; big fossil fuel-dependent companies are also embracing the change and also Opening up many opportunities for global investors. In the year 2020, a USD 600m sustainability-linked susuk has been sold by the UAE’s Etihad Airways and Saudi Electricity Company issued USD 1.3bn of Islamic bonds to finance green capital projects.

The region is pushing its competence to intensify the share of Renewables within their energy mix, here are a few significant Renewable Energy projects which are developing and creating a structured impact in the Middle East.

Al Dhafra solar project, Abu Dhabi

Al Dhafra solar project is a 2GW photovoltaic (PV) independent power producer (IPP) project, which will be located in Al Dhafra region. To increase the yield, the panels installed will use the latest solar PV modules.

60% of the project is owned by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar , the two Abu Dhabi-based electricity companies held by the government, which is being developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. The other 40% of the shares are owned by the Chinese company Jinko Power and the French electricity company EDF Renewables.

It is expected to be commercially operational by mid of 2022, with a total cost of approximately $1 billion. Once fully operational, the project will generate enough electricity to sustain power for up to 160,000 homes across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tons per year.

This project comes as part of the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to boost the proportion of renewables within the country’s total energy mix from a quarter to half by 2050.

Noor Energy 1 – Dubai, UAE

Noor Energy 1 is a 950MW hybrid project, with 700MW of concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and 250MW of photovoltaics. It’s the fourth phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the largest single-site concentrated solar power plant in the world using a state-of-the-art combination of a central tower and parabolic trough concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies to collect energy from the sun.

The project, which was awarded to an ACWA Power led consortium in 2017, will deliver electricity at a levelled tariff of US $7.30 cents per kilowatt-hour; a cost level that competes with fossil fuel generated electricity without subsidy for reliable and dispatch able solar energy through the night.

The project is being developed by ACWA Power, a power generation company based in Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with Shanghai Electric, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and Abengoa, a Spanish company. The plant will support the Dubai Clean Energy strategy 2050 to increase the share of clean energy at Dubai to 25% by 2030, and will allow a saving of 1.6 Million tons of CO2.

Sudair Solar Power Plant – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Sudair solar Power project is a 1.5GW photovoltaic (PV) solar farm. The project is expected to be one of the largest single-contracted solar PV plants in the world and expected to produce enough energy to power 185,000 homes, offsetting nearly 2.9 million tons of emissions per year.

Sudair One Renewable Energy Company, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), is developing the project with an estimated investment of SAR3.4bn ($906m).

The Sudair Solar project was unveiled during the inauguration ceremony of the 300MW Sakaka solar project in April 2021, which is the first utility-scale solar energy project in Saudi Arabia.

The project will utilise bi-facial PV solar panels on pile-driven mounting structures. The solar panels will be equipped with tracking technology and an automatic robotic cleaning system. Other key components of the project will include inverters, transformers, and an electrical substation for power transmission.

The project partners reached financial closure for the 1.5GW solar farm in August 2021. The project is expected to start generating electricity in 2022 , and the electricity generated by the power plant will be sold to Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) signed in April 2021.

Manah Ⅰ and Ⅱ Projects – Manah, Oman

The Manah Ⅰ and Ⅱ solar Independent Power Projects (IPPS) are expected to commence commercial operations in the last quarter of 2023 and the first of 2024 discreetly and will have a combined capacity of 1GW (500MW) each. The projects are implemented by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) with an investment of around RO300mn.The Company is also the sole procurer of the sultanate’s power and water capacity.

Both the solar projects will contribute in diversifying Oman’s energy sources to achieve the target of generating 30 % of electricity through renewable sources by 2030, and would help in reducing 680,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Hatta Wind Power Project – Dubai, UAE

Dubai has launched a project in Hatta as UAE’s first wind farm project to study the feasibility of generating electricity by utilizing wind energy. The site has been selected following wind studies and field visits, with actual wind speed currently being measured for a full year using a 150m tower, and the study will enable state utility Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) to assess the total capacity of the wind farm and technical elements such as number of turbines and average annual operating hours.

The project will utilise photovoltaic solar panels technology, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), green hydrogen production using renewable energy, and pumped-storage technology in the hydroelectric power station in Hatta.

The project is a part of a sustainability target of the UAE to reach 75% of energy to be produced by clean technologies by 2050, and is expected to reach a total capacity of 28MW.

Al Kharsaah Solar Power Project

Al Kharsaah PV solar project is an 800MV photovoltaic independent power producer (IPP) project. It is the first large-scale solar power plant, equipped with high-efficiency, half-cut bifacial solar modules, the 800 MWp Al Kharsaah Solar PV IPP Project will cover 10 square kilometers and will feature 2 million modules mounted on trackers, being developed in Qatar which is currently under construction, and is set to significantly reduce its environmental footprint.

The plant is set to be fully operational in the second half of 2022. During its first year of operation, it is expected to generate almost 2,000,000 MWh, the equivalent energy consumption of approximately 55,000 Qatari households.

The countries of the Middle East region are in expeditious motion in reaching their renewable energy target. Some of the projects have already commenced their commercial operations. Some of the key highlights from 2021

• In Dubai, the first 300MW of phase 5 of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park was inaugurated in August.
• Saudi Arabias first utility-scale renewable energy project, Sakaka PV Project was inaugurated.
• Algeria tendered 1GW of solar projects in December 2021.
• Two solar tenders for projects with a total capacity of 7.5MW were issued by SEA in Bahrain.
• Egypt announced it was planning to increase green bond issuance rate to achieve their sustainable goals.
• Iraq announced it is planning to develop two 2GW renewable energy projects.

• In Oman, it was revealed that contracts for the Sahim II scheme torooftop solar PV systems on 514 residential premises are expected to be awarded in Q1 2022.
• In Q4, the largest solar panel production plant in MENA was inaugurated in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.
• Two solar tenders for projects with a total capacity of 7.5MW were issued by SEA in Bahrain.
• The first green hydrogen pilot project in MBR solar park was in inaugurated.
• Al Husainiyah Solar Project in Jordan achieved commercial operation.
• The 26 MW Kom Ombo Solar Park was constructed in Aswan and is fully operational.
• Morocco received bid proposals for the Noor II PV project.
• A number of major green hydrogen projects were launched in the MENA region, including a 25GW green hydrogen project in Oman.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network