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Masdar to develop solar plant in Mauritania

15MW scheme will supply around 10% of Islamic Republic's capacity

NEWS, Projects

Renewable energy specialist Masdar has announced that it is to develop a 15MW solar power project in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The plant, which will be based next to a new university in the capital city of Nouakchott, will deliver around 10% of the country's electricity capacity.

It is the first utility-scale solar power installation in Mauritania.

“Mauritania has some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, making it an ideal place for solar power installations,” said Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Mines, H.E. Taleb Ould Abdivall.

“We are pleased to be working with such esteemed partners on this important project and remain committed to harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources.

"Masdar has gained tremendous experience in the renewable energy sector through its projects worldwide and we look forward to future opportunities for cooperation,” H.E. Abdivall added.

Mauritania has an installed grid capacity of just 144 megawatts, supplied mostly by diesel generators, but the country has significant untapped renewable energy potential in the form of both solar and wind. In fact, the country’s wind energy potential is almost four times its annual energy demand.

The 15MW solar photovoltaic project will provide for the annual demand growth in the country, estimated to be at a rate of 12% in 2012. It will also supply much-needed power to the country, which currently faces severe energy shortages.

“This project also proves that energy access and commercially viable renewable energy can go hand-in-hand,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Masdar.

“With the demand for energy rapidly increasing – especially in the developing world – tapping into renewable energy is critical,” he added.

Once construction on the project is complete, the Nouakchott solar power plant will be owned and operated by Société Mauritanienne de l’électricité (SOMELEC), the government-owned electric utility in Mauritania.

Masdar is part of Mubadala - an investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi government responsible for diversifying its economy. 

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