UAE: The United Arab Emirates marked a historic milestone in its sustainability journey as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) project in the world, a pivotal component of the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

The 950-megawatt (MW) project, built at an investment of AED15.78 billion, integrates three cutting-edge technologies to generate clean energy – 600 MW from a parabolic basin complex, 100 MW from a CSP tower, and 250 MW from photovoltaic solar panels.

The project, recognized by Guinness World Records, boasts the tallest solar tower globally, standing at an impressive 263.126 meters. Additionally, it features the largest thermal energy storage capacity, setting new benchmarks for sustainable infrastructure.

The inauguration of the project during COP28, where the UAE is hosting the UN Climate Change conference, demonstrates the nation’s commitment to global climate action goals.

Covering an expansive 44 square kilometers, the project aims to provide clean energy to around 320,000 residences and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 1.6 million tonnes annually. This underscores the UAE’s clear vision to transform into one of the world’s most sustainable nations.

The solar tower’s Molten Salt Receiver (MSR), with over 1,000 thin tubes, plays a pivotal role in converting solar radiation into thermal energy. This groundbreaking technology sets a new standard for concentrated solar projects worldwide.

Sheikh Mohammed’s Vision for a Sustainable Future

On the occasion, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stated, “The UAE has a clear vision to transform itself into one of the world’s most sustainable nations. Our journey towards sustainability is comprehensive, encompassing advanced clean energy projects across diverse renewable sources, and innovative solutions integrated into various spheres of the economy and society.”

He further added, “The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is at the heart of Dubai and the UAE’s commitment to create a world-class infrastructure for sustainability and a robust foundation for building an environmentally friendly future.”

On UAE’s drive for sustainability, he said, “Driven by the objectives of the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategy, we continue to expand our sustainable energy mix and embrace renewable and alternative energies, shaping not only our nation’s future but also contributing significantly to the global effort to combat climate change.”

DEWA, ACWA Power, and Chinese Silk Road Fund

Collaboration between Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), ACWA Power, and the Chinese Silk Road Fund resulted in the establishment of Noor Energy 1, the project company responsible for designing, building, and operating the fourth phase.

Commenting on the collaboration, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, highlighted, “Through the IPP model, DEWA has achieved the lowest global prices, making Dubai a benchmark for solar energy project prices worldwide.”

He added, “The vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to enhance the share of clean and renewable energy, have contributed to making Dubai a global hub for the green economy and a global role model in the sustainable transition to clean energy.”

The success of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with a current capacity of 2,627 MW, contributes significantly to achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050.

Mohammad Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, expressed pride in their contribution to Dubai’s sustainability vision, stating, “Inaugurating the world’s largest single-site CSP plant during COP28 demonstrates our commitment to our strategy to increase the use of clean and renewable energy sources.” He emphasized that the project sets new standards for CSP generation with innovative technologies, such as solar tower technology and parabolic panels, making it the only single-site project in the world with all these technologies and featuring the largest solar energy storage capacity globally.

ZHU Jun, Chairwoman of Silk Road Fund, also applauded the collaborative effort, saying, “Through collaboration and innovation, we pave the way for sustainable energy solutions that push boundaries and drive progress. As we celebrate the opening of Noor Energy 1, we affirm our commitment to a brighter and cleaner future for future generations.”

The Global Green Revolution

Dubai’s ambitious CSP project not only sets new records in renewable energy infrastructure but also cements the UAE’s commitment to a sustainable, environmentally friendly future. As the project adds significant capacity to the global renewable energy landscape, Dubai emerges as a leading force in the transition towards clean and sustainable energy solutions.