Ewec targets to increase solar power generation capacity by 600% in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) plans to increase its solar power capacity by 606% by 2030 as part of the United Arab Emirates’ goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Abu Dhabi-based utility aims to increase its solar power capacity to 7.3 GW by 2030, according to its Statement of Future Capacity Requirements report. The report forecasts a requirement of an additional 3 GW of solar power capacity by 2029 on top of the 1.5 GW procured from the Al Ajban Solar PV Project. The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has approved the recommendations, which call for continued investment in low-carbon intensive reverse osmosis water desalination technology.

The report also suggests the acquisition of at least 300 MW of battery capacity before 2026 to ensure the availability of operational reserves and other essential services that can enhance the system’s operability and network stability. The initiatives will reduce Ewec’s carbon dioxide intensity per kilowatt hour by 42% by 2029, the report said.

The United Arab Emirates aims to invest $160bn in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades. The country has already made progress towards its goal of reducing its carbon footprint, becoming the first Middle Eastern country to set a net-zero target, which it aims to achieve by 2050. The construction of clean energy plants, including the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai and the two-gigawatt plant in Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, is a priority.

Ewec’s growing portfolio of renewable and clean energy projects is accelerating the decarbonisation of the country’s energy sector, according to the company’s CEO Othman Al Ali. The report provides a powerful reference that outlines Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s future needs, said Al Ali. Clean energy accounts for more than 60% of the total power Ewec generates, the company said in December.

The recommendations in the report will enable more than 90% of the total water demand to be fulfilled using reverse osmosis by 2030. Reverse osmosis is a membrane-based method of desalination that uses less energy compared to the thermal process used to produce fresh water. Ewec’s initiatives will increase network stability and enhance system operability, the company said.

The meeting of these goals will help reduce emissions and enable Ewec to provide secure, sustainable, and least-cost supply of water and electricity across Abu Dhabi and beyond, according to Bruce Smith, strategy and planning executive director at Ewec. By diversifying its energy mix and increasing the share of renewable energy and low-carbon intensive RO, Ewec will be able to ensure a sustainable supply of water and electricity.

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