Dubai launches $3.27bn solar energy project

Plant is part of energy-hungry Gulf emirate’s plan to cut back on imports
Dubai launches $3.27bn solar energy project
Dubai plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2030. [Image for illustration only]
By Reuters
Mon 09 Jan 2012 05:22 PM

The emirate of Dubai on Monday unveiled plans to build a AED12bn
($3.27bn) solar energy park, with potential capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW) as
part of its efforts to reduce its energy reliance.

Under Dubai's Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, it plans to
reduce energy imports and climate warming carbon dioxide emissions by 30
percent by 2030, using its own solar power and nuclear power imported from
neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi to reduce reliance on gas.

Named after Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum Solar Park will cover an area of 48 square km. The first solar plant of
the park will have a capacity of 10 MW and is planned to commence operations by
end-2013. It will cost around AED120m.

"The members of the Supreme Council of Energy are
financing the project," said Saeed Mohammed al-Tayer, vice chairman of
Dubai's Supreme Council of Energy, referring to the 10 MW plant.

Among the members of the Council are various government
entities such as the Dubai Supply Authority and Dubai Petroleum Establishment
as well as Dubai Aluminum Company (DUBAL) and Emirates National Oil Company
(ENOC).

For the financing of the rest of the project, the Supreme
Council of Energy was studying several options like developing a clean energy
fund. It was also going to encourage private partnership, Nejib Zaafrani,
secretary general and chief executive officer of Supreme Energy Council said.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the world's largest oil
exporters, producing some 2.6 million barrels a day (bpd).

But most of the UAE's production is clustered in the emirate
of Abu Dhabi, with Dubai producing only around 100,000 bpd from four existing
fields, according to the U.S. Energy Administration.

The country is also one of the highest per capita
electricity consumers in the world, with soaring temperatures driving up air
conditioning use from June-September, forcing energy-hungry Dubai - home to
nearly 2 million people - to buy ever more natural gas.

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