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Shams continues to contribute to UAE’s clean energy transition

2020.04.07     From: gulftoday

The ‘Shams 1’ Abu Dhabi.


Shams, one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants, continues to significantly contribute to the UAE’s clean energy transition, and is helping the country prepare for the next 50 years


Operated by Shams Power Company and owned by Masdar, one of the world’s leading clean energy companies, and Total and Abu Dhabi Pension Fund, the pioneering 100-megawatt plant has played a key role in shaping the renewable energy sector in the UAE and Mena region. 


“Our journey towards excellence and success relies on building bridges of cooperation with unique entities in all fields,” said Khalaf Abdullah Rahma Al Hammadi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Pension Fund, adding, “This has been achieved over the past years through our fruitful partnership and successful investment in Shams Power Company, which has seen many achievements worldwide in the field of clean energy.”


Shams has paved the way for other ambitious clean energy projects, as the country prepares for the next 50 years of its development, including the world’s largest solar plant, Noor Abu Dhabi, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Shams represented the world’s largest financing transaction for a solar energy project in 2011, when the company announced the financial closing of the $600 million project.


“Looking back over the past seven operating years, and almost 10 years since the commencement of this project, we are proud and privileged to be a part of this visionary venture,” said Majed Al Awadhi, General Manager, Shams Power Company, adding, “By undertaking this investment, UAE leaders were among the first in the world and in the Mena region who recognised the importance of clean energy, sustainability and diversification for growth.”


Located 120 kilometres from Abu Dhabi in the Al Dhafra region, Shams powers more than 20,000 homes and displaces 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The plant covers an area of 2.5-square-kilometres, or the equivalent of 285 football fields, and includes 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors. 


“Today, utility-scale solar plants are increasingly common in the Middle East and, without question, projects such as Shams helped pave the way,” said Yousif Al Ali, Executive Director, Masdar Clean Energy and Chairman of Shams Power Company. 


Currently, UAE citizens hold 75 per cent of management positions and 70 per cent of the female employees at Shams Power Company are also UAE citizens.


Abdulaziz Al Mheiri, a Plant Manager at Shams, said, “The renewable energy that we produce here, while maintaining the highest HSE standards, minimises carbon emissions and pollution, and has a much lower impact on our environment. Solar plants play a prominent role in the UAE today, and I am proud that we were the first project to trigger this change.”


As part of its commitment to the community, Shams Power Company will soon be launching the Al Dhafrah Innovation Centre, the region’s first interactive hub for knowledge about renewable energy, sustainable development, the UAE’s clean energy projects, in general, and Shams Power Company, in particular.


It may be mentioned that Abu Dhabi has embarked on a two-decade economic development and diversification plan and has articulated a long term urban planning framework to complement this development.


This includes a strategic commitment to pursue development that is as sustainable as possible. One aspect of this is support for the development of utility-scale renewable energy power plants to help meet the Emirate’s growing energy requirements. The first of these is the 100 MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant.


The Shams 1 project involves the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a CSP plant located in Abu Dhabi on a build, own, operate basis. The plant has a total installed net rated power output of 100 MW and will implement a proven parabolic trough technology that has been operating successfully for more than 20 years at the SEGS plants in the Mojave Desert in California.


The plant, which is the first utility-scale renewable energy power facility in Abu Dhabi, is developed, owned and operated by Shams Power Company PJSC, a special purpose vehicle 80% owned by Masdar and 20% owned by Total.


Shams 1 is located in the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate at the northern latitude of 23°34’ and the eastern longitude of 53°42’, approximately 120 km southwest of Abu Dhabi and 6 km from the town of Madinat Zayed on the road from Tarif to the Liwa Oasis. 




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