SHAMS 1: Abu Dhabi starts major solar project
Abu Dhabi, March 17, 2013
Abu Dhabi today inaugurated Shams 1, the largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in operation in the world in the Western Region of the emirate.
The 100-megawatt, grid connected power plant will generate clean energy to power 20,000 homes in the UAE.
Inaugurating the project, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, called it a major achievement in the UAE’s goal of energy and economic diversification.
“Expanding our leadership into renewable sources of power demonstrates the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to maintaining its position as a major provider of energy,” said Sheikh Khalifa. “The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major milestone in our country’s economic diversification and a step toward long-term energy security.
“We are proud of the young Emiratis that worked on this project,” he said. “The expertise they gained, working closely with international companies and building a project of such scale, is the type of human capital development that will enable our country to secure long-term energy leadership.
“Shams 1 is a strategic investment in our country’s economic, social and environmental prosperity,” added Sheikh Khalifa. “The domestic production of renewable energy extends the life of our country’s valuable hydrocarbon resources and supports the growth of a promising new industry.”
The ceremony was also attended by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as other members of the UAE leadership.
Shams 1 was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar (60 per cent), Total (20 per cent) and Abengoa Solar (20 per cent).With the addition of Shams 1, Masdar’s renewable energy portfolio accounts for almost 68 percent of the Gulf’s renewable energy capacity and close to 10 per cent of the world’s installed CSP capacity.
Holding nearly half of the world’s renewable energy potential, the Middle East and North Africa is poised for unprecedented growth in renewable energy, said a statement.
“The inauguration of Shams 1 is a breakthrough for renewable energy development in the Middle East,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “With the demand for energy rising exponentially, the region is undergoing a major transformation in how it generates electricity. In fact, the Middle East is poised for major investments in renewables, and Shams 1 proves the economic and environmental advantage of deploying large-scale solar projects.”
“Our wise leadership recognises the immediate and future benefits of renewable energy,” added Dr Al Jaber. “Investments in sophisticated projects like Shams 1train our future energy leaders, create specialised jobs and encourage economic development. Renewable energy is fundamental to achieving a diversified energy mix and extending the life of our precious hydrocarbon resources. Clean energy, is aligned with the legacy of conservation instilled in us by our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”
“Abu Dhabi is investing and incubating a new energy industry,” added Dr Al Jaber. “Through Masdar, we are redefining the role our country will play in delivering energy to the world. From precious hydrocarbons exports to commercially viable renewable energy projects, we are extending our legacy for future generations.”
The innovative CSP project reduces the UAE’s carbon emissions, displacing approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year, an equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees, or taking 15,000 cars off the road. With solar power generated during peak demand, the UAE can reduce its need for “peak shaving” generators, which are expensive and idle most of the year.
“Shams 1 is the culmination of a three-year journey to build the largest and most innovative renewable energy project in the Middle East,” said Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of Total. “With bold new targets, policies and investment programs, the Middle East is poised for a surge in renewable energy development, and we see a tremendous opportunity for growth.”
Covering an area of 2.5 sq km – or 285 football fields – Shams 1 incorporates the latest in parabolic trough technology and features more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors. By concentrating heat from direct sunlight onto oil-filled pipes, Shams 1produces steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity. The project uses a booster heater to heat steam as it enters the turbine, dramatically boosting the cycle’s efficiency. Shams 1also features a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces water consumption – a critical advantage in the arid desert.
“The Middle East holds nearly half of the world’s renewable energy potential,” said Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar. “The abundance of solar energy is an opportunity to integrate sustainable, clean sources of power that address energy security and climate change. The region needs more projects like Shams 1, and we look forward to pushing the boundaries of future energy.” - TradeArabia News Service