UAE’s first utility scale wind power project launched

The UAE Wind Programme, a 103.5 megawatt (MW) landmark project developed by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), was launched yesterday, marking a new milestone in UAE’s move towards clean energy.

Under the UAE President’s directives, Shaikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, inaugurated the programme.

The project demonstrates for the first time the latest technology and innovation to capture low wind speeds at utility scale, adopting advances in material science and aerodynamics to make wind power possible in the country. The project marks the debut of cost-effective, large scale, utility wind power on the UAE’s electricity grid, diversifying the country’s energy mix and advancing its energy transition.

The programme is expected to power over 23,000 UAE homes. It will displace 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent of removing over 26,000 cars from the road annually. The development underscores the UAE’s commitment to tackling climate change as it looks forward to hosting an inclusive COP that focuses on delivering results.

The project spans four locations including the picturesque Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, which is home to free-roaming wildlife. A 45MW capacity wind farm plus 14 MWp (megawatt peak) solar farm has been developed on the island. The other wind farm locations include the historical pearl-diving centre, Delma Island (27MW) in Abu Dhabi, Al Sila, Abu Dhabi (27MW) and Al Halah, Fujairah (4.5MW).

Shaikh Khaled attended the inauguration ceremony held on Sir Bani Yas Island, where he witnessed the signing of a landmark Power Purchase Agreement between EWEC (Emirates Water and Electricity Company) and Masdar for the wind power generation from the Sir Bani Yas Island, Al Sila, and Delma Island projects.

PowerChina was the main engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the programme and GoldWind Group was the main supplier of equipment.

Dr Al Jaber said: “The UAE Wind Programme is a great source of national pride and a demonstration of Masdar’s ability to pioneer and implement innovations in wind and renewable energy technologies. More than 20 years ago, before Masdar was created however, Shaikh Zayed, our founding father, someone who cared deeply about the environment, oversaw the completion of a wind turbine on Sir Bani Yas Island. As the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse, Masdar continues this legacy by supporting the nation’s vision as a global leader in sustainability and climate action as it unlocks the new potential of wind power. For a viable energy transition, the world must triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement goals. As we look forward to hosting COP28, today’s inauguration shows the UAE’s firm commitment to this target, boosting clean energy investments both at home and abroad.”

The project marks the first time that the UAE has added utility-scale wind power to its energy mix. Energy generated by landmark solar, nuclear and waste-to-energy plants already feeds into the UAE’s national grid and earlier this month the country was recognised as a world leader in solar energy use, according to the latest data from The Energy Institute Statistical Review of World Energy.




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