One of the largest solar power plants in the world will start operating at full capacity this year in the United Arab Emirates, months before it hosts the climate talks organized by the United Nations, the COP28 climate summit in November and December of this year 2023.
The United Arab Emirates, a major oil exporter, is spending billions to develop enough renewable energy to cover half of its needs by 2050, and is targeting net domestic carbon emissions by that year.
Olivier Bordes, regional director of French renewable energy company EDF, said the Al Dhafra project, located in the desert about 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) south of the capital Abu Dhabi, will provide enough electricity for 160,000 households in the country of 10 million. breeze.
“It started producing its first kilowatt-hour of electricity at the end of last year and it will officially enter service before the summer,” Bordes said, adding that once it is fully operational, it will produce up to 2.1 gigawatts.
UAE state-owned companies TAQA and Masdar own 60 percent of the project, which they describe as the largest single-site solar power plant in the world, with the remainder owned by a consortium formed by EDF Renewables and China’s Jinko Power Technology.
The factory of giant solar panels with two sides, which rotate to face the sun, occupies a site that extends over 20 square kilometers (nearly 5,000 acres).
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, during his visit to the site on Tuesday, welcomed the “very close cooperation” between Paris and Abu Dhabi in the field of renewable energy.
Le Maire, who also stopped in Saudi Arabia and Qatar on a regional tour, said he wanted to “support” Gulf oil producers on their path to “decarbonization”.
Masdar Renewable Energy Company said that Emirati and French companies “have participated in the development, investment and operation of more than 6.2 gigawatts of clean and renewable energy programs around the world.”
Masdar announced in a statement that the companies from both countries have mobilized more than $6 billion in investments, displacing about 10 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.