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Friday, June 2, 2023

UAE needs to increase its solar PV capacity by 600% by 2030

1.2GW Abu Dhabi Noor Solar Project. Image: EWEC.

The UAE should increase its solar PV capacity six-fold to 7.3GW by 2030, according to a new report by the Emirates Water and Electricity Corporation (EWEC).

In its Statement of Future Capacity Needs 2023-2029: Summary Report, EWEC recommended that the UAE should add 4.1GW of solar PV capacity by 2029, including planned The 1.5GW Al Ajban project will come online in 2026. It also proposes an additional 300MW of battery energy storage systems (BESS) to stabilize power distribution.

EWEC said the increased capacity was necessary due to increased electricity demand and supply chain insecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and that solar PV additions were considered to provide “significant system cost and emissions reduction benefits”.

The report said that the UAE’s total electricity demand will grow by about 30% to about 21.6GW by 2029. It suggests that, to meet demand, around one-third of new capacity additions from 2026 should be solar PV. It also recommends expanding or reconfiguring thermal power plants to meet demand and developing two reverse osmosis desalination plants to ensure continuous water supply to the country.

Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, said: “Our summary report on future capacity needs demonstrates EWEC’s commitment to advancing the UAE’s energy transition while continuing to ensure a safe and reliable supply of hydropower in the UAE.”

“This report provides a strong key reference outlining the future needs of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Our growing portfolio of renewable and clean energy projects is accelerating the decarbonisation of the country’s energy sector in line with the UAE’s 2019 Net Zero Emissions Strategic Initiative, while supporting Abu Dhabi Department of Energy’s 2035 clean energy goals.”

November Abu Dhabi Ports Group has started exploring potential distributed solar opportunities with a subsidiary of TotalEnergies.Abu Dhabi and the UAE more broadly host some of the largest photovoltaic plants in the world, such as the 800 MW Khalifa Industrial Zone installation, which will provide green ammonia plants and vast Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park.

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