Masdar launches world's largest CSP plant: Shams 1

HH Sheikh Al Nahyan inaugurates UAE's 100MW concentrated solar plant

Shams 1 incorporates more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 parabolic troughs.
Shams 1 incorporates more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 parabolic troughs.

HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, has officially inaugurated Shams 1, the largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in operation in the world.

Covering an area of 2.5km² in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, the 100-megawatt plant incorporates more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking parabolic troughs, delivering enough energy directly to the grid to power 20,000 homes in the UAE.

Sheikh Al Nahyan announced: “The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major milestone in our country’s economic diversification and a step toward long-term energy security that expands our leadership into renewable sources of power and demonstrates our commitment to remain a provider of energy.”

The Sheikh also noted his pride in the young Emiratis that have worked on this massive project, adding: “The domestic production of renewable energy extends the life of our country’s valuable hydrocarbon resources and supports the growth of a promising new industry.”

Shams 1 will displace approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year - equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees, or taking 15,000 cars off the road. As solar power correlates peak demand, the UAE can reduce its need for “peak shaving” generators, which are expensive and stand idle most of the year.

The project also features a booster heater to heat steam as it enters the turbine to boost the cycle’s efficiency, and a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces water consumption to suit the desert.

The ceremony was also attended by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai; HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi; and, HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.

Masdar's CEO commented: “The inauguration of Shams 1 is a breakthrough for renewable energy development in the Middle East. With the demand for energy rising exponentially, the region is undergoing a major transformation in how it generates electricity.”

With the addition of the plant Masdar’s renewable energy assets account for almost 68% of the Gulf’s capacity and near 10% of the world’s installed CSP.

Dr Al Jaber added: “Abu Dhabi is investing and incubating a new energy industry - through Masdar we are redefining the role our country will play in delivering energy to the world.”

The Shams 1 project was designed and developed by Shams Power Company in a joint venture between Masdar (60%), Total (20%) and Abengoa Solar (20%).

Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of Total, commented: “Shams 1 is the culmination of a three-year journey. The region is poised for a surge in renewable energy development, and we see massive opportunity.”

Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar, added: “The Middle East holds nearly half of the world’s renewable energy potential. The region needs more projects like this, and we look forward to pushing the future boundaries.”

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