Abu Dhabi to make next solar move

Emirate was finalising the location for its third major solar scheme earlier this year

Abu Dhabi’s state utility Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) could issue the transaction advisory tender for the UAE capital’s third major solar photovoltaic (PV3) scheme soon, according to sources familiar with the project.

“It was supposed to be issued in the first quarter of the year but there have been some delays due to the [Covid-19] situation,” said one of the sources, who added the tender could be issued imminently.

MEED reported in January that the location of the site for the PV3 is being finalised, citing Bruce Smith, Ewec forecasting and planning director.

“There are a couple of potential sites and which site is confirmed may have some bearing on the size of project that goes ahead,” Smith told MEED.

MEED understands the PV3 is expected to have a capacity of 1.5GW.

The first two major schemes are the 1.2GW solar PV IPP project at Sweihan (PV1), popularly referred to as Noor Abu Dhabi, and the recently awarded 2GW Al-Dhafra solar IPP (PV2).

PV1 and PV2 status

In February 2017, the emirate awarded a contract to a consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and China’s Jinko Solar to develop a 1,177MW photovoltaic (PV) solar IPP at Sweihan, at the time the world’s largest single-site solar project.

Noor Abu Dhabi reached commercial operation in late June last year. According to Ewec CEO Othman al-Ali, the first project was delivered on time and within budget.

On 26 July, Ewec signed the power-purchase agreement (PPA) and shareholders agreement with the developer consortium that will implement the planned 2GW Al-Dhafra solar IPP project.

The consortium comprises Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) and Masdar, which will own a 60 per cent equity in the project, and France’s EDF and China’s Jinko Solar, which will own 40 per cent.

The EDF/Jinko Solar team submitted a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of AED4.97 fils a kilowatt-hour (kWh) ($1.35 cents/kWh).

The team’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor is understood to be Power China Huadong.

US/India-based Synergy Consulting provided financial advisory services to the developer team.

The state utility expects to reach financial closure on the project by the third quarter of 2020. Initial power generation is expected in the first half of 2022 and full generation by the second half of the same year.

Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2GW.

The consultancy team advising the client includes the UK’s Alderbook, the US’ White & Case and Austria’s ILF Consulting.

The project will involve the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the solar plant under a 30-year PPA.

According to Ewec, the planned solar plant will cover an area of 20 square kilometres and provide electricity to up to 110,000 households.

These solar projects form part of the UAE’s target of 50 per cent clean energy by 2050, of which 44 per cent will come from renewable energy.


19 August, 2020 | .By JENNIFER AGUINALDO