Masdar Power focuses on solar energy and wind power both in the UAE and across the globe
Masdar Power, one of the five integrated units of Masdar, announced that its global and local projects are on track and will consolidate the company’s status as a leader in the renewable energy arena. The unit also unveiled its major international success story.
Sharing additional details with the media in Abu Dhabi, Masdar Power announced the start of the commissioning of its joint venture Torresol Energy’s Gemasolar concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Spain.
Masdar Power focuses on solar energy and wind power both in the UAE and across the globe, contributing to the worldwide transition to renewable energy.
Some of Masdar Power’s initiatives within the UAE include Shams One concentrated solar power (CSP), Noor One solar photovoltaic (PV) and Sir Bani Yas onshore wind project. Internationally, Masdar Power’s projects include the 1GW London Array offshore wind farm, the 6MW onshore wind farm in Seychelles, the Gemasolar and Valle 1 & 2 Torresol projects and Masdar PV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Masdar that produces amorphous silicon thin film photovoltaic modules eight times larger and more powerful than the industry standard at its plant in Germany.
The Shams One project, the largest CSP plant in the Middle East and one of the largest in the world, is on schedule and within budget. The whole project is set to go on-line during 2012. The joint venture with Abengoa Solar and Total is being built in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi over an area of 2.5km².
Mohamed Al Zaabi, General Manager of Shams Power Company PJSC, said, “Forty-five per cent of the project has been completed in this one year since the project started. Excellent safety records had been established for the project -- 1.8 million man hours have been logged without lost time injury against 1,200 workers onsite. Twenty per cent of the Solar Collectors (mirrors) have already been installed at site along with major equipments such as steam turbines. We are happy with the progress of Shams One. We will meet our target of being included among the most efficient and lowest cost producers of solar energy anywhere in the world.”
Shams One will generate power by concentrating the sun’s rays through hundreds of thousands of parabolic mirrors. These mirrors track the movement of the sun and concentrate the sunrays on a central receiver tube carrying oil. Their heat is used to generate electricity through a steam cycle. The plant will have an installed capacity of 100 megawatt. The project has been registered under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations.
“The project has focused on utilisation of local contractors and the workers are undergoing a learning experience that will help them rapidly develop their knowledge and skills to world-class levels. The plan is to hire Emiratis who will operate such plants to make sure that the knowledge is transferred locally. Eventually, up to 35 percent of the operators will be Emiratis who will run this plant,” he said.
The project is also important for the local economy as new job opportunities have been created and new communities built in an area that has been perceived as barren and uninhabitable for long.
Noor One, the 100MW photovoltaic plant (PV) in Al Ain, is the second local solar project that Masdar Power is engaged in. With the request for proposals for the EPC and O&M released recently and award scheduled by year-end, the project will be one of the largest PV plant of its kind in the world.
The third local project that Masdar Power is involved with in the UAE is expected to boost eco tourism in Sir Bani Yas Island, located 250 km southwest of Abu Dhabi city. The onshore wind farm is currently in the tendering phase. The operational capacity of the project upon completion will be up to 30MW. The plant will be connected to the Abu Dhabi power grid. The construction of the project is expected to begin before the end of this year.
Masdar’s largest functional UAE project – now operational for two years – the 10MW PV Plant at Masdar City, has already saved 23,860 tonnes of carbon. The power plant marks the integration of the largest solar PV plant in the Middle East to the Abu Dhabi power grid. The solar power plant meets the energy needs of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the temporary Masdar site for administration facilities, and also powers the ongoing construction activities of Masdar City.
The plant, consisting of 87,777 panels (50% thin film and 50% crystalline silicon) was built at a cost of Dhs185m ($50m) at an installed power capacity of 10 MW, which makes it one of the most cost-efficient PV installations in the world in terms of its projected power output. The 212,000 square meter plant, designed and constructed by Enviromena Power Systems, has been operational since June 1, 2009.
Frank Wouters, Director at Masdar Power, said, “The benefits of generating renewable energy in this Emirate are many. It will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, diversify the energy sector and increase security of supply. It also gives us first-hand expertise in renewable energy, offering excellent career opportunities for UAE national engineers and managers. This in turn will really strengthen our case when we seek to operate and invest in renewable energy operations abroad. By exporting our know-how, we create a new source of revenue.”
Masdar’s initiatives in the region tie up with Abu Dhabi’s target of sourcing a proportion of its power needs from renewable sources by 2020.
Masdar has tasted its first success in the international arena with the delivery of the flagship Gemasolar CSP plant in Seville, Spain, through Torresol Energy, its joint venture with multinational technology leader SENER.
The first commercial-scale CSP plant in the world with central tower receiver has commenced initial supply of electricity to 25,000 homes in the Andalucía region of Spain. When fully operational, it will help reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes a year. The technology behind this is revolutionary as it allows solar power to be stored and thus electricity to be produced even during the hours of darkness or poor daylight in the winter months.
Torresol Energy’s current portfolio also includes two 50MW plants - besides Gemasolar – Valle 1 and Valle 2, both under construction in southern Spain. Construction of the parabolic trough Valle 1 & 2 plants located in Cadiz is on track. The two 50MW CSP plants, totalling 100MW, in Andalucía, Spain are being built at a total investment value of US$1 billion.
The CSP projects currently under construction in Spain will help promote CSP as an economically competitive and viable alternative to traditional power sources. Torresol Energy intends to explore additional projects across Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the USA.
Construction of Masdar’s joint venture London Array is on track with the first of 175 foundations currently installed. Set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the project will consist of up to 341 wind turbines and be rated at 1,000MW, producing enough energy to power a quarter of Greater London homes (750,000 homes) and displace the emissions of 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
When fully operational, London Array will make a substantial contribution to the UK government’s target of providing more than 15% of all electricity supply from renewable sources by 2015; based on the current schedule the London Array project would represent nearly 7% of this target.
Masdar’s Seychelles wind power project is running on schedule. Currently at the tendering phase, the 6MW onshore wind farm will help generate electricity to reduce the island’s dependence on fossil fuels. In the process it will help mitigate risks associated with energy supply and climate change in the popular tourist destination.
Through its projects Masdar Power has turned into a major contributor to the Emirate’s recognition regarding renewable energy.
To build a portfolio of strategic utility-scale projects, Masdar Power makes direct investments in individual projects in all areas of renewable energy, with a focus on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), photovoltaic solar energy and on- and offshore wind energy.
Masdar Power strategically invests in technology relevant to utility-scale renewable energy. One example of companies in which it holds significant ownership stakes is Torresol, a joint venture with SENER to build and operate Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants globally.