The United Arab Emirates has managed to lower its dependence on oil for powering its grid systems. The Emirate Water and Electricity Company has developed Noor Abu Dhabi, which is the biggest individual solar power project in the world. Although there are some solar parks that are larger than Noor Abu Dhabi, they are being run by multiple companies and not a single company.
Noor Abu Dhabi has a peak capacity of 1.18 gigawatts and houses 3.2 million solar panels, thus making it as the biggest individual solar project because of its high-output. In comparison, the UAE’s latest Noor Abu Dhabi is so big that the largest solar power facility in the US, the 569MW Solar Star, is actually small when looked at in comparison.
This latest solar park in UAE will generate enough energy to provide power to 900,000 people and will be reducing the CO2 emissions of the country by one million metric tons. Emirates Water and Electric also have plans for a 2GW solar project while Saudi Arabia has an initial agreement for a solar power plant in Mecca with an output of 2.66GW. This shows a paradigm shift in the region that has surplus oil.
The Noor Abu Dhabi plant was created as part of a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Government and a consortium comprising of Japan’s Marubeni Corp and China’s Jinko Solar Holding. Mohammad Hassan Al Suwaidi is the Chairman of EWEC and has been talking about the strength of the new project and how it will impact the future. He said, ‘The completion of the project marks a significant milestone in the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050, launched in 2017, to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50% by 2050 while reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70%.’