Abu Dhabi Unveils World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant

19th Mar 2013

The United Arab Emirates are rich in oil, and as a result rich in pocket, yet unlike the US oil industry the Arab states understand that renewable energy is vital for the future, and are therefore using their petro dollars to invest in huge projects at the moment.

Abu Dhabi, the richest of the UAE states, has just unveiled the 100 megawatt Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant, the largest in the world.

The facility was developed by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Investment company, Total, the French energy company, and Abengoa, the Spanish solar power company, at an estimated cost of around $750 million.

The Shams 1 uses 768 adjustable parabolic mirrors to focus the sunlight onto a water tank which ten boils the water into steam to be used to turn turbines and generate electricity.

Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, the head of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. a subsidiary of Masdar, said that the project is part of a “strategic plan to diversify energy sources in Abu Dhabi.

Together, with clean energy and nuclear energy, it will make up 7 percent of Abu Dhabi's energy sources from renewable energy sources.”

Bloomberg stated that Saudi Arabia also has similar plans to invest in renewable energy development, with the most extensive renewable energy program in the Middle East. “The country is seeking about $100 billion in investments to generate about 41,000 megawatts, or a third of its power, from solar by 2032. That compares with about 3 megawatts now, which puts it behind Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates in capacity, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.”

By. Joao Peixe