US energy secretary lauds Dubai’s solar vision

US energy secretary lauds Dubai’s solar vision
Published: 27 October 2019 - 2:52 p.m.
By: Baset Asaba

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry praised the strategic vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and said the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a great example of what a public-private partnership should be.

"I think His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's vision of having a diversified energy portfolio is not only correct but visionary. It attracts to a great degree what US President Donald Trump believes in," Perry said during his visit to the solar park where he was received by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

Al Tayer welcomed Perry and the high-level delegation from the US Department of Energy. The two sides held a meeting that covered potential cooperation and sharing knowledge about renewable and clean energy. The delegation included Tommy Joyce, deputy assistant secretary for international affairs; Rachael Beitler, deputy chief of staff to the secretary; and other officials from the US Department of Energy. Perry was briefed about contributions of US companies to the solar park's projects.

"The US has all of the above energy strategies where we have been blessed with massive amounts of fossil fuels that can use in a very diverse way. About 10 years ago, we did not have liquified natural gas that we have today. It is a great transitional fuel driving down emissions along with wind energy, solar energy, hydro energy and civil nuclear energy. All of these combined give a country a lot of flexibility, to drive down the cost of power," Perry said.

Al Tayer noted that Dewa has strategic partnerships with the US Department of Energy and many American organisations and companies in clean energy, energy efficiency, digital transformation and automation projects.

"This facility, which is the largest solar array in the world in a single site is a very visionary project that reflects His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's vision for the world and certainly for Dubai to be a leader in energy development. This is a great example of what public-private partnership can do; how a small country, relatively speaking, can be a giant in the world of energy efficiency addressing global climate needs and desires of the world. Tip the hat to HH for putting together his team here and the future looks bright in the surrounding area," he added.

Al Tayer noted that Dewa has strategic partnerships with the US Department of Energy and many American organisations and companies in clean energy, energy efficiency, digital transformation and automation projects. He presented Dewa's current projects and initiatives to anticipate and reshape the future of energy by innovating a model for future utilities in the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity and water.

"Dewa has investments worth over Dh86 billion over the next 5 years to meet growing demand for electricity and water in Dubai. It currently has an installed capacity of 11,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 470 million gallons of desalinated water per day, providing its services to over 900,000 customers in Dubai according to the highest levels of availability, quality and efficiency," he said.

Al Tayer explained that the capacity of the current projects at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is 713MW. Total capacity of the 5 phases announced so far will reach 2,863MW and will reach 5,000MW by 2030. This includes 4,000MW from photovoltaic solar panels and 1,000MW from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).

The meeting included a presentation by First Solar, an American company that Dewa selected to implement the 13MW first phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, according to the Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracting. Powered by 152,880 First Solar FS Series 3 Black PV modules, the plant generates 24 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. The power generated by the plant reduces 15,000 metric tonnes of CO2 annually, which is equivalent to removing 2,000 cars off the streets annually.

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