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.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.