UAE plans to build world first hybrid landfill gas-solar agro power plant

Published: 5 November 2018 - 4:35 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

The UAE will soon see the development of the world’s first and largest Integrated Hybrid Landfill Gas-Solar-Agro project in Ras Al Khaimah, it was announced last month by Engineer Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al Hammadi, Director General of the Public Works and Services Department, Government of Ras Al Khaimah at the Renewable Energy Conference, part of Wetex 2018.

This is the world’s first integrated hybrid landfill gas (LFG)-solar project that will also include an agro-product development component to make it a completely green and sustainable industry – in line with the UAE Government’s vision to promote green and sustainable economy.

With an investment outlay of $100 million (AED367 million), the project will generate up to 16 megawatt (MW) power to be supplied to the customers in Ras Al Khaimah.


An agreement to this effect was signed between Public Works and Services Department and Utico, for developing and operating a 16 MW LFG-Solar project. The project is in line with the new UAE energy strategy that aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent, thus saving Dh700 billion by 2050.

The agreement was signed by Engineer Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al Hammadi, Director General of Public Works and Services Department, Government of Ras Al Khaimah and Richard Menezes, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Utico, in the presence of Ms Sonira Nasser, Director of Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Authority (RAKWMA).

Al Hammadi said this project is in line with the directives of the UAE government, as well as RAK Ruler’ directives to provide the best services to citizens and residents, as well as ensure sustainable development.

UAE Energy Plan for 2050 is targeting an energy mix that combines renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources to meet the UAE’s economic requirements and environmental goals. The UAE aims to invest Dh600 billion by 2050 to meet the growing energy demand and ensure sustainable growth of the country’s economy.
Sonia Nasser said the project was envisioned over a few years and this signing ceremony is the outcome of a long drawn tendering and selection process. She said that the agency is dedicated to providing the best services to all in RAK and leading the way for sustainable development.

Utico, a private sector utility supplier which is also a developer plant supplier for water desalination equipment as well as EPC contractor and operator for water and power facilities, will develop the project and operate the project.

Power offtake will be utilized by Utico’s transmission and distribution arm.

“The benefits of this project will be passed onto consumers and will be in line with the program to assist investment and investors in the UAE,” Richard Menezes, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Utico, said,

“Electricity produced will be used to power the desalination plant making it the world’s least carbon footprint desalination plant as well as its benefits will be passed onto our residential consumers as per part of our SolarFree program at lower than the current peak consumer rates.”

Utico is the largest private full services utility in the UAE and has invested over $540 million (AED2 billion in the UAE with over $600 million (AED2.2 billion) projects under construction and development. Utico is the first GCC company to be awarded Desalination Company of the year Award as well as the first in the MENA region to be certified ISO50001 for energy management. It recently received investment from PIF, PPA, Government of Bahrain, Brunei and Islamic Development Bank through fully-owned Asma Capital as part of the US$147 million deal.

The Gulf countries are expected to invest $252 billion over the next five years on projects for setting up new power production plants, distribution systems, and supply grids. GCC represents 47 percent or 148 GW of the current MENA power-generating capacity, according to reports by Ventures Onsite, a UAE-based project tracker.

The region would require $85 billion for the addition of 69GW of generating capacity and another $52 billion for transmission and distribution over the next five years. The GCC power capacity needs to expand at an average annual pace of 8 percent between 2016 and 2020.

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