The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Tuesday broke ground on the 700MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the biggest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world.

With efforts to drive a sustainable and innovative strategy, Sheikh Mohammed said: “We will continue pursuing ambitious investments with an emphasis on projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Clean and renewable energy is key to sustainable development and the UAE has set an example for its rapid adoption.

“We have developed a sustainable infrastructure that will serve new generations. This infrastructure has been built by young Emiratis who will lead our country through the next phase of growth.

"We are proud of our nation’s advancements in clean energy and green economy. The country is reaping the fruits today of the strong planning that we initiated years ago.”

CSP project specs

According to an ACWA Power statement, this CSP project, which is based on an Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, will generate 700MW of clean energy at a single site.

“The project, which features the world’s tallest solar tower measuring 260 metres and the world’s largest thermal energy storage capacity, will provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai, reducing 1.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year," explained ACWA Power.

The CSP project will use two technologies for the production of clean energy: the 600MW parabolic basin complex and the 100MW solar tower over a total area of 43 square kilometres.

Quoted in the statement, this project, which features an investment of AED14.2 billion, has achieved the world’s lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of $7.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h). "This is a new global achievement for the UAE,” said ACWA Power. Read more: ACWA Power awarded 700MW CSP project

Extending his gratitude and thanks to the Prime Minister for his presence at this milestone, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), explained: “The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will provide Expo 2020 Dubai with a dedicated capacity of 464MW of clean energy. This will be the first Expo in the world to be completely powered by clean energy."

“On this occasion, I would like to thank our partners in the consortium comprising Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and the Silk Road Fund, in collaboration with China’s Shanghai Electric as the main contractor, for their efforts and contributions in achieving our ambition to harness the sun,” added Al Tayer.

Commenting on the ceremony, Mohammed Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, said: “We are proud to be part of Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 through this project, which extends our portfolio in the energy sector in Dubai and, thanks to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, proves the success and effectiveness of implementing projects based on a public-private partnership model.

“We have also demonstrated the success of our mission to reduce the price of solar energy and deliver the lowest tariff by implementing Concentrated Solar Energy (CSP) at a commercial scale - thereby contributing to the reduction of reliance on traditional energy sources.

"The project also set multiple world records including the world's tallest solar tower, at 260 metres and delivering the world's highest capacity molten salt storage unit - able to provide 15 hours of uninterrupted supply even without sunlight”.

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power, added: “24-hour dispatchable cost competitive solar energy that this project will deliver is not just a monumental step forward in achieving the goals of Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy but is also possibly the most significant contribution to accelerating the energy revolution across the world.

"The investment of $750 Million ACWA Power is making into this project is also the single largest investment we are making in any project and thus a testament to our confidence in the Concentrated Solar Power technology and our commitment to the long-term partnership with DEWA and the Government and the people of the Emirate of Dubai."

Solar Park

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the IPP model.

It will generate 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030. The 13MW photovoltaic first phase became operational in 2013.

The 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park was launched in March 2017.

The 800MW photovoltaic third phase will be operational by 2020, and the first stage of the 700MW CSP fourth phase will be commissioned in Q4 of 2020.

HH Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied at the ground-breaking ceremony by Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, apart from ministers, and director generals and senior officials of Dubai Government departments.