Qatar, the Persian Gulf emirate hosting this year’s United Nations climate talks, plans to tender its first solar power project in the first quarter of 2013, the country’s energy minister said.
The project will generate 200 megawatts of power when completed by 2020, Mohammed al-Sada told a press conference in Doha today. The project will produce 2 percent of the nation’s electricity, he said. It’s the first step in a goal to have 1,800 megawatts of solar power by 2020.
Qatar, which has no large renewable energy plants, joins Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in announcing clean energy plans to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and related emissions. Saudi Arabia aims to meet a third of its electricity with solar power by 2032, while Dubai targets 5 percent of generation by 2030. Abu Dhabi wants 7 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
“We want to produce more clean energy to save burning natural gas in power plants, which we can sell at higher prices globally,” al-Sada said.
The project will use different solar technologies including solar-thermal, al-Sada said. The country is producing polysilicon in order to produce solar cells that will be used in the project, he said.
The nation aims to boost solar power as part of plans to meet 20 percent of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2030, Qatar Solar Technologies said in October. QSTec is a venture between the private charity Qatar Foundation Germany’s SolarWorld AG and the Qatar Development Bank.
The venture aims to produce polysilicon, manufacture photovoltaic panels and install the devices that generate electricity directly from the sun in the country, it said today. In May, QSTec obtained financing for a $1 billion polysilicon plant in Ras Laffan City from Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan.
The facility will initially produce 8,000 metric tons of polysilicon a year and enough of the raw material for 6.5 gigawatts in panels when at full capacity, according to QSTec.
Envoys from more than 190 nations are in Qatar’s capital for two weeks of discussions on how to limit global warming. The UN organizes the annual conference is attracting 17,600 delegates including business leaders and energy ministers from around the globe.