Is the Middle East building the infrastructure needed to go solar?

Is the Middle East building the infrastructure needed to go solar?
ABB is investing in the infrastructure needed to create large scale solar projects in the Middle East.
Published: 10 May 2018 - 1 a.m.
By: Jumana Abdel-Razzaq

The Middle East has been steadily shifting its reliance away from oil and fossil fuels and more towards solar power and renewable energy over the last decade.

Swiss-based technology company ABB has been a driving force in creating the infrastructure needed to support this shift, actively working with governments across the Middle East to develop large-scale solar projects.

“When you look into ABB’s strategy, we are looking act how to successfully integrate solar into the grid, how to improve the transportation system, and how to deliver a greener and more stable [network],” said Loay Dajani, regional head of ABB’s EP division told Construction Week.

ABB is currently working on the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the UAE, one of the largest solar projects in the world.

When completed in 2030, the park will occupy 214 sq km, generate 5,000MW and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 6.5 million tons.

The UAE launched its ambitious Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy, and will help increase power supply and meet the goals for increased use of renewables. ABB is supporting this and other initiatives across the region.

“We have provided the financing to execute [a number projects in the region],” Dajani said. “ABB has several projects in Kuwait within the automation and oil and gas industries. We also have projects in Oman and Bahrain that we have recently been awarded as well.”

In 2017, ABB delivered its first substation connecting the second phase of the MBR Solar Park, integrating 200MW of electricity to the transmission grid.

In April, the company was awarded an order worth $90m to build a substation that will integrate solar power from upcoming phases of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park into the city’s electrical grid.

ABB said it will be its second substation for the park as a booming growth in population and economic sectors, like tourism, have increased demand for energy.

In fact, ABB has had quite an active year, revealing in March that it is currently bidding for nearly $700m (AED2.6bn) worth of power projects in the UAE.

These include a 132kV substation project for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), as well as a solar power plant project with ACWA Power.

According to ABB managing director Mostafa Al Guezeri, the company is also bidding for ADNOC expansion projects and eyeing opportunities with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority.

“Overall, ABB is pitching for $600m (AED2.2bn) to $700m (AED2.6bn) of projects in the UAE,” Al Guezeri told Construction Week in March.

The company has also been involved in a 400kV substation at the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park and was awarded 400kV substations for the DEWA Shams projects in April.

“This project, in my opinion, is another to solidify our track record, confirming ABB’s ability to execute these types of projects in the UAE,” Dajani said.

ABB has been quite active in other parts of the region this year as well. 

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