With a capacity of 100 megawatts, the largest concentrating solar thermal power plant in the world began its activity said Sunday (03.24) representatives of Masdar and its partners Total and Abengoa Solar. Masdar, a company owned by the emirate of Abu Dhabi and dedicated to renewable energy, is partnering on this project with Total and Abengoa, a Spanish company specializing in energy infrastructure.

Located in the west of the UAE, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Shams 1 was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar (60%), Total (20%) and Abengoa Solar (20%).

Occupying an area of 2.5 km2, or 285 football pitches, Shams 1 plant will produce enough renewable electricity to power approximately 20,000 homes in the UAE.

The construction of the solar field consisting of 768 parabolic mirrors by Abengoa Solar will need three years for a total budget of $600 million. Eventually, the maximum capacity of the plant is expected to reach 2,000 MW.

Integrating technologies parabolic trough most recent Shams 1 has more than 258,000 mirrors. By concentrating the heat from the solar radiation directly to the pipes filled with synthetic oil, Shams 1 generates steam to drive a turbine and thus produces electricity. As the vapor is compressed when it enters the turbine cycle efficiency is increased considerably. The infrastructure also includes a dry cooling system significantly reduces water consumption: a crucial advantage in the arid west of Abu Dhabi.

Moreover, as solar electricity is produced during periods of high demand, the UAE reduce the use of expensive generators and use them very little throughout the year to “clip” the peaks.

“The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major breakthrough for renewable energy in the Middle East,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “Like the rest of the world, the region is facing growing energy needs and strives at the same time reducing its environmental footprint. Startup Shams 1 is an important step that demonstrates that renewables on a large scale are a solution for providing electricity which is sustainable, accessible and safe.”

Including Shams 1, the portfolio of renewable energy Masdar represents nearly 68% of the production capacity of this sector in the Gulf and 12% of the installed capacity of concentrated solar energy in the world.

“Abu Dhabi is investing for the emergence of a new sector of the energy industry, both domestically and internationally,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “Through Masdar, the UAE redefining their role as suppliers of energy to the world. Integrating both exports and essential oil of modern renewable energy infrastructure, we balance our energy mix and diversifying our economy – thus moving towards a more sustainable future. Today, the UAE is the only OPEC member able to offer oil and renewable energies in the international market.”

“As a longtime partner of Abu Dhabi, we are particularly proud to have participated in the challenge of building Shams 1. This is a major step in the exploitation of solar potential in the region,” For its part, said Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total. “We share the vision of Abu Dhabi, which provides a promising future for renewable energy, alongside fossil fuels. Total is now a world leader in solar energy. With this status, we are delighted to accompany the UAE in diversifying their energy mix. ”

“The Middle East has almost half of the global potential of renewable energy,” said Santiago Seage finally, CEO of Abengoa Solar. “Solar energy can actually integrate abundant sources of clean and sustainable electricity to meet the challenges of energy security and climate change. Region needs more projects such as Shams 1 and we are eager to push the limits the energy of the future. “

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