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Masdar to develop solar plant in Mauritania

Abu Dhabi, October 23, 2012

Abu Dhabi government-owned green energy firm Masdar has announced plans to develop a 15-megawatt solar power project in Mauritanian capital Nouakchott that will deliver 10 per cent of the country's electricity capacity.

The project is the first utility-scale solar power installation in the Islamic republic, which has a low electrification rate of 60 per cent.

“Mauritania has some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, making it an ideal place for solar power installations,”said Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Mines TalebOuldAbdivall.

“We are pleased to be working with such esteemed partners on this important project and remain committed to harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources.Masdar has gained tremendous experience in the renewable energy sector through its projects worldwide and we look forward to future opportunities for cooperation,” the minister said.

Mauritania has an installed grid capacity of just 144 MW, supplied mostly by diesel generators, but the country has significant untapped renewable energy potential in the form of both solar and wind. In fact, the country’s wind energy potential is almost four times its annual energy demand.

The 15-MW solar photovoltaic project will provide for the annual demand growth in the country, estimated to be at a rate of 12 per cent in 2012. It will also supply the much-needed power to Mauritania, which currently faces severe energy shortages.

The Masdar solar power project is being built next to the university in Nouakchott, currently under construction, and will serve as a learning laboratory for solar energy development in the country.

“This project also proves that energy access and commercially viable renewable energy can go hand-in-hand,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Masdar.

“Partnerships are at the core of Masdar’s business strategy and projects like this one underscore the critical role collaboration plays in renewable energy development. With the demand for energy rapidly increasing – especially in the developing world – tapping into renewable energy is critical,” Dr Al Jaber noted.

“The integration of wind, solar and hydro power helps to reduce the strain on our natural resources and serves as a bridge to energy security and economic development opportunities.Investing in renewable energy preserves natural resources, contributes to energy security and water security, and fosters sustainable development,” he added.

Along with renewable energy projects in Tonga and Afghanistan, the Mauritania project is part of Masdar’s commitment to the United Nations’ Year of Sustainable Energy for All – a global initiative announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Once construction on the project is complete, the Nouakchott solar power plant will be owned and operated by Société Mauritanienne de l’électricité (Somelec), the government-owned electric utility in Mauritania.

“We’ve entrusted Masdar to represent us in this important project and are extremely pleased with the professionalism and speed of the process thus far,” said Mohamed Salem Ould Bechir, general director of Somelec.

Dr Al Jaber said over the last several decades, the UAE has gained tremendous experience as an energy leader in the hydrocarbon industry. "Through Masdar’s global clean energy projects, this leadership position is being further strengthened as we now export renewable energy, he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: abu dhabi | Masdar | project | Mauritania | solar power |

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