Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Has $5 Billion in Solar, Wind Power Projects

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned renewable energy company, is working on a portfolio of renewable power generation projects worth about $5 billion, according to Frank Wouters, the director of Masdar Power.

In Spain, the company has three solar projects worth about $1 billion, Wouters said at a media briefing in Abu Dhabi today. A 20-megawatt plant will start producing power this month and two 50-megawatt facilities will start this year, he said. Masdar also has stakes in the 1-gigawatt London Array offshore windfarm and a 6-megawatt offshore wind project in the Seychelles.

Abu Dhabi, which holds almost all the oil reserves in the United Arab Emirates, is investing in solar and wind power all over the world to pioneer the use of renewable energy. The emirate is building Masdar City, a business and residential complex designed to minimize carbon emissions, and serves as headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Masdar is a key component of Abu Dhabi’s aim to generate at least 7 percent of the power it uses from renewable sources by 2020. Growth in power demand to more than 20,000 megawatts by the end of the decade would require about 1,500 megawatts from projects such as wind and solar plants, according to data from Abu Dhabi’s utility.

The company’s domestic projects include the Shams 1 project, the largest concentrated solar plant in the Middle East, which is 45 percent complete and will be ready next year, according to a statement received by e-mail today. Masdar expects to award a construction contract for the 100-megawatt Noor 1 photovoltaic plant by the end of 2011 and may start building a 30-megawatt wind farm on Sir Bani Yas island.

Concentrated solar plants reflect sunlight, usually with mirrors, to heat liquids and create steam to turn turbines and generate power. Photovoltaic plants use solar panels, which convert sunlight directly to electricity. Masdar already operates a 10-megawatt facility of this type in Abu Dhabi.

Shams 1 is a venture between Masdar, Abengoa SA (ABG) of Spain and France’s Total SA. (FP)

To contact the reporters on this story: Anthony DiPaola in Abu Dhabi at adipaola@bloomberg.net; Ayesha Daya in Dubai at adaya1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Voss at sev@bloomberg.net.

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