President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan today inaugurated the Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan today inaugurated the Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region, describing it as an ‘outstanding achievement’ in terms of the UAE’s vision to diversify its economy and sources of energy.
The Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, were present.
Shams 1 is the largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in operation in the world. Connected to the electricity transmission grid, it will produce 100 MW of power, sufficient to provide clean energy to around 20,000 homes.
Located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, the 100-megawatt, grid connected power plant will generate clean energy to power 20,000 homes in the UAE.
"Expanding our leadership into renewable sources of power demonstrates the commitment of the United Arab Emirates to maintaining its position as a major provider of energy," the President said.
"The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major milestone in our country’s economic diversification and a step toward long-term energy security", he added.
He expressed his pride at the young Emiratis who had worked on the project, saying that the expertise they gained, through working closely with international companies on building a project of such scale, is the type of development of the country’s human capital that will enable it to secure its long-term leadership in the energy field.
The Shams 1 plant, he said, "is a strategic investment in our country’s economic, social and environmental prosperity… The domestic production of renewable energy extends the life of our country’s valuable hydrocarbon resources and supports the growth of a promising new industry." The event was opened with the playing of the National Anthem, followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran.
The CEO of Masdar, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who is also a Minister of State, then delivered a speech.
"The inauguration of Shams 1 is a breakthrough for renewable energy development in the Middle East and contributes to maintaining the position of the United Arab Emirates as a constructive force for stability and development," he said. He also thanked the country’s wise lesadership for their efforts to achieve sustainable development in response to the aspirations of the citizens and in support of the UAE’s economic and social growth.
"With the demand for energy rising exponentially, the region is undergoing a major transformation in how it generates electricity," Dr. Al Jaber said. "In fact, the Middle East is poised for major investments in renewables, and Shams 1 proves the economic and environmental advantage of deploying large-scale solar projects." "Our wise leadership recognises the immediate and future benefits of renewable energy," he added. "Investments in sophisticated projects like Shams 1 train our future energy leaders, create specialised jobs and encourage economic development. Renewable energy is fundamental to achieving a diversified energy mix and extending the life of our precious hydrocarbon resources. Clean energy, is aligned with the legacy of conservation instilled in us by our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan." Shams 1 was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar (60 percent), Total (20 percent) and Abengoa Solar (20 percent).With the opening of Shams 1, Masdar’s renewable energy portfolio accounts for almost 68 percent of the Gulf’s renewable energy capacity and close to 10% percent of the world’s installed CSP capacity.
"Abu Dhabi is investing in and incubating a new energy industry," added Dr. Al Jaber. "Through Masdar, we are redefining the role our country will play in delivering energy to the world. From precious hydrocarbons exports to commercially viable renewable energy projects, we are extending our legacy for future generations." The innovative CSP project reduces the UAE’s carbon emissions, displacing approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees, or taking 15,000 cars off the road. With solar power generated during peak demand, the UAE can reduce its need for "peak shaving" generators, which are expensive and idle most of the year.
"Shams 1 is the culmination of a three-year journey to build the largest and most innovative renewable energy project in the Middle East," Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of Total, said in another speech at the inauguration ceremony. "With bold new targets, policies and investment programmes, the Middle East is poised for a surge in renewable energy development, and we see a tremendous opportunity for growth." Covering an area of 2.5 km2 – or 285 football fields – Shams 1 incorporates the latest in parabolic trough technology and features more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors. By concentrating heat from direct sunlight onto oil-filled pipes, Shams 1produces steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity. The project uses a booster heater to heat steam as it enters the turbine, dramatically boosting the cycle’s efficiency. Shams 1also features a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces water consumption – a critical advantage in the arid desert.
"The Middle East holds nearly half of the world’s renewable energy potential," said Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar. "The abundance of solar energy is an opportunity to integrate sustainable, clean sources of power that address energy security and climate change. The region needs more projects like Shams 1, and we look forward to pushing the boundaries of future energy." The ceremony was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region, Sheikh Surour bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, H. H Lt.-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Adviser to the UAE President, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Executive Council Member, Dr. Sheikh Saeed bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, (ADTCA), Sheikh Hazza bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Under Secretary of the Diwan of the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region, Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs, Lt. General Misbah Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, a number of other Sheikhs, ministers and senior officials, members of the Abu Dhabi Excutive Council, and heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the State and invited guests.
The Western Region of Abu Dhabi is the centre of the country’s hydrocarbons industry and represents the roots of its Bedouin heritage. Today, with the addition of Shams 1, the region is evolving. Alongside oil fields, renewable energy and peaceful nuclear power is being developed to support the country’s long-term energy requirements.