May 26, 2024

Masdar opens world’s largest single-site solar plant ahead of COP28

 Masdar opens world’s largest single-site solar plant ahead of COP28

The UAE’s state-owned renewable energy company Masdar , also called the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, has opened the world’s largest single-site solar plant ahead of the COP28 in Dubai later this month.

Masdar, Dhabi National Energy Company, EDF Renewables and Jinko Power, together with procurer Emirates Water and Electricity Company, opened the Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic Independent Power Project south of Abu Dhabi city. 

The Al Dhafra plant can power nearly 200,000 homes and help save 2.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions, according to a statement from Masdar. The plant spans more than 20 square kilometers (12 square miles) of desert and created 4,500 jobs during its construction, Masdar said.

The new site was inaugurated by Abu Dhabi Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Hazza said that the opening of the new plant will help the UAE achieve its aims of enhancing energy security while reducing carbon emissions and spurring economic growth.

Sheikh Hazza said, “As the UAE prepares to host COP28, this pioneering project reflects the country’s ongoing commitment to raising its share of clean energy, reducing its carbon emissions and supporting the global efforts on climate action. We are witnessing day after day, project after project, that the UAE is at the global forefront of developing and adopting innovative clean energy solutions. We are achieving energy security while also contributing to building a bright future for future generations to come.”

Why it matters: The UAE plans to triple its renewal energy over the next seven years to try to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

However, this goal excludes emissions from energy exports. The country’s state-run oil company, ADNOC, is looking to increase its production of crude oil from three million barrels per day to five million by 2027.

Furthermore, the Climate Action Tracker has said that the UAE’s phase-down in carbon emissions is “insufficient” and the country is likely to miss its climate targets.

The Emirates, as well as the United States and the European Union, are rallying governments to agree to a global deal to triple renewable energy this decade at COP28 at the end of this month.

Know more: The summit takes place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12 at Expo City Dubai. Around 200 countries are expected to be represented there by heads of state and other senior officials. 

ADNOC CEO and Masdar chairman Sultan Al Jaber is the COP28 president and UAE climate envoy. The choice of Jaber to oversee the climate talks has come under scrutiny, with critics pointing out it is the first time the head of a fossil fuel company has presided over such negotiations. His supporters say he is well placed to lead the negotiations due to his connections and influence over the oil and gas industry. 

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