Dubai auction sees record low price for "night-time" solar power

Dubai auction sees record low price for “night-time” solar power

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Dubai auction attracts $95/MWh offer for solar tower and storage, a record low.

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The United Arab Emirates continue to set record lows for renewable energy power, with an auction for 200MW of solar thermal and storage capacity attracting a new low for the technology of $US94.50/MWh.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) announced this week the prices from four unidentified consortia for the auction, part of the massive 1,000MW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park.

The lowest bid is believed to have come in nearly 40 per cent below the previous world-record low price, one newspaper reported, although it is thought that the Solar Reserve bid for the South Africa was around $US125/MWh. It is also above the $US80/MWh hoped for when the bid was first announced last year.

The three other bids ranged from 10.58 cents to 17.35 cents per kWh. Originally, more than 30 different consortia sent expressions of interest, although only a handful were invited to submit final offers.

A final decision will be made in the next month, with construction to be complete by 2021. At this size, it would be the biggest solar and storage facility in the world.

Dubai intends to increase the size of the solar park to 5,000MW by 2030, part of its plan to lift its share of renewable energy to  25 per cent by 2030, and to 75 per cent by 2050.

“This will transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and a green economy. The UAE’s focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar and wind power bids in Europe and the Middle East,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, the CEO of DEWA.

The Nation newspaper said that bidders included Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and China’s Shanghai Electric, Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar with partners EDF of France and Abengoa of Spain, along with Power China, Engie of France and Solar Reserve and the Chinese firm Suncan with Al Fanar of Saudi Arabia.


Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive of Acwa Power, told the newspaper it was exciting to see CSP technology with storage “offering dispatchable solar energy – day and night, competing with fossil fuel-based alternatives”.

The biggest solar tower with storage construction is Solar Reserve’s  Crescent Dunes project in Nevada, which is 110MW of capacity with 10 hours storage.

Solar Reserve is also proposing to build a similar sized plant near Port Augusta, and is believed to be on the shortlist of a South Australia government tender, and will likely be applying, among others, for a $110 million equity offer by the federal government.


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  1. Tom 3 years ago

    I wonder how feasible it would be to heat the molten salt with an electric element of some sort powered by excess daytime PV electricity.

    There would be efficiency losses in the heating and then the steam generation, but when when fixed PV is being installed for as low as US$30/MWh is some places, then a lot of efficiency losses could be accepted before it ends up as US$95/MWh.

    I also wonder how much of the capital cost of CCS is in the mirrors, tower, and pumps, and how much is in the molten salt tanks and the steam generator (which would be the only components you’d need if it was being heated by excess PV electricity)?

    • Brunel 3 years ago

      Sure. How about a heat pump to melt the salt.

      The Tesla gigafactory has no natural gas pipeline because they wanted to force themselves to be more sustainable

      • neroden 3 years ago

        Mostly heat pumps, electric resistance heating for the really high temperature stuff

        • Brunel 3 years ago


    • Martin 3 years ago

      As mentioned below, you would not use resistance heaters but rather, heat pumps. High ambient temperatures help make this even more efficient in the MENA region.

  2. Webber Depor 3 years ago

    $95 is hella expensive

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