It seems everyone is rolling out with plans for the world’s largest this or that and the UAE is joining the fray with a massive concentrated solar energy project called Shams 1. Masdar is teaming up with French oil company Total and Spanish solar company Abengoa Solar to build a 100 MW solar plant outside of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Compared to the monster Desertec project in Europe and North Africa, Shams 1 is a drop in the bucket, but will be up and running long before Desertec secures financing.
Shams 1, which is named for an Arabic word for sun, will be located 120 kilometers southwest of Abu Dhabi and will produce 100 MW of power. The plant is comprised of a solar field consisting of 768 parabolic trough collectors supplied by Abengoa Solar, plus a backup natural gas boiler to supply power when the sun is not on. The plant will displace approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and directly contribute to the UAE’s goal of 7% renewable energy by 2020.
The new CSP plant will be jointly owned by Masdar (60%), Total (20%) and Abengoa Solar (20%). Construction is expected to commence in the fall of 2010 and should take approximately two years to complete, which means Shams 1 will be pumping out solar power by the end of 2012. Desertec, on the other hand, which has ambitious goals of 1 GW of CSP is likely to not be completed for at least another 15 years.