Abu Dhabi's Masdar to Double Solar, Wind Power in Middle East

  • Masdar to boost solar, wind capacity in 10 years from 1.5GW
  • Falling cost of solar plants makes them competitive with gas

Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Masdar plans to invest in renewable energy projects from the U.A.E. to Morocco to double its power generation capacity from solar and wind plants within a decade to meet rising demand in the region, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Belhoul said.

Masdar plans to bid for power projects in Jordan after starting a 117 megawatt wind farm in the kingdom last year, Belhoul said in a telephone interview from Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The company is working on projects to mount solar panels on 17,700 homes in Morocco and wants to develop wind and solar plants there, he said. It’s also pursuing solar developments in Abu Dhabi and neighboring Dubai as well as in Egypt, he said.

“We’re looking at demand in the Middle East and North Africa region doubling by 2030,” he said. “It makes sense for us to at least double our portfolio over the next 10 years.”

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates which holds about 6 percent of global oil reserves. The country is seeking to diversify its energy supply away from natural gas, which fuels most of its power plants, and plans to generate 24 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2021, the official news agency WAM reported Oct. 25. Masdar has about 1.5 gigawatts of renewable energy power capacity including at plants in Abu Dhabi, the U.K. and Spain, Belhoul said.

Generation from renewables will expand as technology cuts the cost of those energy sources, Belhoul said. The cost of producing power with photo-voltaic solar technology is competitive with electricity from natural gas.

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