Minister of Energy visits Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park & control-centre compound

Minister of Energy visits Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park & control-centre compound


HE Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, and HE Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Energy, visited the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, and the control-centre compound at Warsan. They were received by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), HE Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, Waleed Salman, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, Hussain Lootah, Executive Vice President of Transmission Power at DEWA, Dr Yousef Al Akraf, Executive Vice President of Business Support and Human Resources at DEWA, also attended the meeting with other DEWA staff.

Al Mazrouei’s first visit was to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, which is managed and operated by DEWA. Al Tayer spoke in depth about the phases of the park. The park is the largest single-site project to generate electricity from solar energy in the world, based on an independent power producer (IPP) model. The 13 megawatt (MW) first phase of the project became operational in October 2013 and the 200MW second phase will be operational in April 2017. It will produce 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030. The solar park will help reduce 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. DEWA has received five bids for the park’s 800MW third phase, with the lowest at USD 2.99 cents per kilowatt (kW). The next step in the bidding process will review the technical and commercial aspects of the bids to select the best one.


The delegation visited the construction sites for the R&D centre and the innovation centre, which is due for completion by 2018, as well as the main AED275 million 400/132kV substation at the solar park, which has a conversion capacity of 1,515 megavolt amperes (MVA), in addition to the solar-powered water pumping and desalination station that uses photovoltaic solar panels to desalinate water with Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. This has a production capacity of 50 cubic meters a day that provides R&D establishments in the park with high-quality drinking water. The project is part of DEWA’s efforts to enhance Research and Development. DEWA cooperates with international organisations to research water desalination using solar energy. This supports DEWA’s and the UAE Water Aid Foundation's (Suqia)’s efforts to provide clean water to the needy, and also contributes to financing and supporting water-technology projects to combat drought.

Al Tayer welcomed the Minister of Energy and outlined the close ties between DEWA and the Ministry to promote sustainability and green growth by diversifying the energy mix and increasing the share of clean energy to contribute to the protection of the environment by reducing carbon emissions and building a knowledge economy.

Al Tayer also briefed Al Mazrouei on the most important projects at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, including the interactive Innovation Centre, equipped with the latest technologies in clean and renewable energy, enhancing the capabilities of national renewable and sustainable energy, R&D centres that specialise in clean energy technologies, solar-powered desalination, and others.


Al Tayer noted that the Innovation Centre develops techniques that can improve the performance of photovoltaic units according to climate conditions in the region. The solar testing centre studies, evaluates, and tests the long-term stability and reliability of 30 types of photovoltaic panels, using the most sophisticated and accurate equipment. The highest standards and techniques of testing, controlling, monitoring, evaluation and reporting are applied. The centre also tests solar cell and photovoltaic panel technologies and manufacturing in terms of protection, flexibility, and other specifications to cope with different weather conditions and the surrounding environment, in both open spaces, and when integrated into buildings.

Al Mazrouei commended DEWA and noted that DEWA has become a role model to all UAE organisations by providing the highest international levels of electricity and water. The Minister of Energy noted the solar park’s contribution to achieving the long-term national Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to build a green economy in the UAE, and achieve sustainable development. The solar park offers plenty of promising investment opportunities that strengthen energy partnerships and investments between the public and private sectors, as future phases of the solar park will produce renewable energy based on the IPP model. The park is the first of its kind to use photovoltaic panel technology.

Al Tayer noted that DEWA’s work supports the wise leadership’s directives to increase the percentage of renewable and clean energy sources, and stressed that the UAE, led by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, takes priority in the diversification of energy resources, and increasing dependence on renewable and clean energy resources.

Al Tayer stressed the importance of working together to achieve the vision of the wise leadership and enhance sustainable development, to achieve the UAE Vision 2021, and to make the UAE the best country in the world.

“Our wise leadership is pursuing the transformation towards clean and renewable energy to achieve a vision that recognises their significance in achieving a balance between development and sustainability. This will help protect the rights of future generations to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The strategy aims to provide 7% of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy sources by 2020, 25% by 2030, and 75% by 2050. The solar park emphasises DEWA’s strategy to stimulate research in renewable energy and water, and implement creative ideas and suggestions. DEWA’s Innovation Centre features a group of Research and Development (R&D) centres, that specialise in clean energy technologies, worth a total investment of AED 500 million,” said Al Tayer.

After the delegation’s visit to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, Al Tayer led them on a tour of the control-centre compound in Warsan, which covers a total area of 650,159 square feet.

The AED 500 million centre features two control centres. The first controls power generation, transmission, and distribution to monitor the 400kV and 132kV networks. It controls and manages power generation in coordination with Jebel Ali Power Station. The second centre monitors and manages the networks to maintain continuous improvement.

Al Tayer noted that the transmission and distribution control systems have been designed to meet the expansion of transmission and distribution networks, and manage the needs of the increasing number of substations. DEWA has implemented a Multi-Site System that provides alternative technical and geographical systems in case of emergency, to minimise the impact of any unexpected outages. The separation of the control centres facilitates seamless monitoring of the overall performance of the electricity supply to meet the highest international technical standards. The control centres are equipped with training and simulation systems to provide training for DEWA specialists who work in transmission, generation, and distribution control.

Al Tayer also noted that separating the control centres has enabled DEWA to adopt two smart programmes for transmission and distribution. This will help DEWA to complete the Smart Grid project efficiently, and meet the requirements of transmitting power through the National Emirates network according to NERC Standards.