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Dubai Seeks Solar Plant to Reach 5 Percent of Supply by 2030

Dubai, aiming to generate 5 percent of total power supply from alternative energy sources by 2030, will “soon” announce plans for the Persian Gulf emirate’s first utility-scale solar plant, officials said.

The project will be “unique” in its structure, Saeed Mohammad Al-Tayer, head of the government-run power and water provider and vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy, told reporters in Dubai today. He said the project would be “very big” and declined to give further details.

The second-largest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates aims to diversify sources of electricity and improve efficiency over the next two decades to ensure long-term energy supply. The Supreme Council, the sheikhdom’s top energy policy body, this year announced targets to cut natural gas use for power generation to 70 percent from almost complete reliance now, with the rest divided between nuclear, coal and solar power.

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the government-owned utility, has already selected a site for the solar plant, Al-Tayer said. DEWA, as the company is known, is also working with consultants to plan a coal-fired power plant in the emirate, he said. It plans to import nuclear power, rather than build its own facility, he said.

1 Percent

The emirate aims to gradually add solar power capacity, reaching 1 percent of total generation, by the end of this decade, Al-Tayer said. That would mean Dubai may be able to generate about 90 megawatts of solar power by 2020, out of total capacity of about 9,000 megawatts, Nejib Zaafrani, chief executive officer of the Supreme Council said. That could rise to 800 megawatts of solar capacity by 2030, Zaafrani said, adding that the estimates were based on different scenarios the Council had developed for energy supply and demand.

DEWA selected the site for the solar plant based on its access to transmission lines and on the area being big enough to host generation facilities capable of meeting the sheikhdom’s renewable energy target, Zaafrani said.

Al-Tayer reiterated that the Council had decided not to raise retail power and water rates in the emirate.

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