Dubai’s new solar energy park will be the world’s largest, but it’s no super volcano

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

  • Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy in over 58 countries and Dubai’s vision to create the world’s largest solar park is only going to help accelerate the demise of fossil fuels


 

Dubai is a country with its sights set on the future, and with over 170 great emerging technologies to choose from, and with 3D printed homes and skyscrapers, autonomous transportationflying taxis, government on the blockchain, Mars colonisation, robot police, ultra fast trains, either in their plan or already being implemented, it shouldn’t come as any surprise they’re pushing the boundaries again, so earlier this week the Shanghai Electric Power Company and Acwa Power companies of Saudi Arabia were awarded a $3.8 billion contract to build the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park in Dubai that first began construction in 2012.

 

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The park, like most things in Dubai, will be the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, and it’s hoped that by 2020 it’ll be generating upwards of 1GW of electricity, and then that by 2030 it’ll be generating upwards of 5GW, which is equivalent to 5% of the entire energy production of the UK which last year generated 97GW of power.

However, if they do hit this figure then that won’t just make the new and improved solar park the world’s largest, easily beating out the current champion, India’s latest 648MW solar project, but will make it one of the thirty most powerful energy plants in the world.

That said though it will still have some way to go before it beats out the current champion of the world, the Three Gorges Dam in China, which produces a whopping 22.5GW of electricity.

 

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The fourth phase of the MBR project will add a further 700MW to the park’s existing capacity and, at 260m tall, it will also include the world’s tallest solar tower that will collect energy from many thousands of mirrors, to power the plant’s steam turbines.

“Awarding this strategic project supports the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to promote sustainability, and make Dubai a global centre for clean energy and a green economy,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which awarded the construction contract, adding, “this vision is supported by the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, to increase the share of clean energy in the emirate’s total power output to 7% by 2020, 25% by 2030, and 75% by 2050.”

 

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The new contract is also notable for its low energy generation cost, which has been set at $0.73 per kW/h, however, while Al Tayer says that this would be “one of the lowest costs” in the world I’m afraid, Dubai, that if you want that crown you’re going to have to step up your game even more because if NASA can pull off their $3.8Bn plan to turn the Yellowstone super volcano, which leaks 6GW in heat every day, into a geothermal energy plant, and it’s a big if, then their cost of production will be a paltry $0.10 per kW/h.

As for me, well, I just can’t wait until energy’s free, come on guys, just 10cents left to go…

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