Masdar to develop solar project in Mauritania

Clean energy company says 15MW plant will deliver 10% of electricity capacity in African nation
Masdar to develop solar project in Mauritania
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 23 Oct 2012 05:27 PM

Abu Dhabi's clean energy company Masdar on Tuesday announced the development of a 15-megawatt solar power project in Nouakchott, the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The plant will deliver 10 percent of electricity capacity in Mauritania, Masdar said in a statement.

The project is the first utility-scale solar power installation in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, it added.

"Mauritania has some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, making it an ideal place for solar power installations," said Taleb Ould Abdivall, Mauritania's Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Mines.

"We are pleased to be working with such esteemed partners on this important project and remain committed to harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources. Masdar has gained tremendous experience in the renewable energy sector through its projects worldwide and we look forward to future opportunities for cooperation," he added.

Mauritania has an installed grid capacity of just 144 megawatts, supplied mostly by diesel generators, but the country has significant untapped renewable energy potential in the form of both solar and wind.

In fact, the country's wind energy potential is almost four times its annual energy demand, the statement said.

The 15MW solar photovoltaic project will provide for the annual demand growth in the country, estimated to be at a rate of 12 percent in 2012.

It will also supply much needed power to Mauritania, which currently faces severe energy shortages. The country has a low electrification rate of 60 percent.

The Masdar solar power project is being built next to the university in Nouakchott, currently under construction, and will serve as a learning laboratory for solar energy development in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

"This project also proves that energy access and commercially viable renewable energy can go hand-in-hand," said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Masdar.

"Partnerships are at the core of Masdar's business strategy and projects like this one underscore the critical role collaboration plays in renewable energy development."

Along with renewable energy projects in Tonga and Afghanistan, the Mauritania project is part of Masdar's commitment to the United Nations' Year of Sustainable Energy for All which aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services.

Once construction on the project is complete, the Nouakchott solar power plant will be owned and operated by Société Mauritanienne de l'électricité (SOMELEC), the government-owned electric utility in Mauritania.

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