Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, launched a $12 billion dirham solar project ($3.2 US Dollars)— the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The park will eventually have a capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of power.
The project will be located on a 48-square kilometer area in Seih Al Dahal and will use photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies. The decision is based on the emirate's plan to differentiate its energy mix and reduce dependency on oil and gas; targeting renewable energy to supply one percent of Dubai's energy by 2020 and 5 percent by 2030. The state-owned sole power supplier, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, has an installed capacity of 7,361 MW—all run on oil and gas, although its peak demand has remained well below 6,000 MW, according to its website.
The project will be implemented by the Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai and be managed and operated by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The first phase will be built at a cost of Dh120 million and aims to generate 10 MW of power by the fourth quarter of 2013. The full project of 1,000 MW will be completed by 2030.
Saeed Al Tayer, Vice- Chairman of the SCE and managing director and CEO of DEWA, said although the private sector is prepared to invest in the solar energy projects, the first phase would be 100 percent funded by the SCE. "The SCE is meeting its responsibility to continue our relentless pursuit to provide clean energy solutions to efficiently meet our future requirements and develop a reduced carbon-footprint economy," he said.
Bids for the engineering consultancy service for the first 10MW solar plant are currently under evaluation while tenders for developers are expected to open in June. Al Tayer said the project will be developed in 21 months from appointing a consultant, contracting until operation and generation.