EDF Renewables and KOWEPO to develop EWEC’s 1.5GW Al Ajban solar plant

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The signing ceremony at WFES 2024.
EWEC selected EDF Renewables and KOWEPO from an initial applicant pool of 43 companies. Image: EWEC

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has awarded development rights for the 1.5GW Al Ajban solar project in the UAE to a consortium comprised of French firm EDF Renewables and the Korean Western Power Company (KOWEPO).

Emirati states-owned renewables company Masdar is also the primary shareholder of the project, and all parties signed the agreements at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) earlier this month in Abu Dhabi. Under the terms of the agreement, the consortium will be responsible for building and managing the project, and will sign a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to sell net electricity produced by the project to EWEC, once the project reaches commercial operation in the third quarter of 2026.

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“Al Ajban Solar PV is EWEC’s third world-leading solar power project, and it demonstrates that we remain focused on realising a resilient and sustainable future for the UAE,” said Othman Al Ali, EWEC CEO.

“Our focus extends beyond the immediate benefits, and our advanced techno-economic analysis demonstrates the vital role that solar power plays in meeting both current and future energy demand of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”

The agreement is the latest encouraging development for the Emirati solar sector, following Masdar and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) reaching financial close on the 1.8GW sixth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park earlier this year. The UAE is aiming to add 1GW of new solar capacity each year until the end of the decade. It aims to expand the Al Maktoum plant to a total capacity of 5GW, and investments in large-scale projects beyond this flagship facility will help the country achieve this target.

EWEC selected the consortium partners from a group of four finalists, including ACWA Power, the Marubeni Corporation and a separate consortium led by JinkoSolar and JERA, which were announced last year. The selection process has been highly competitive, with 43 companies first expressing an interest in developing the project in May 2022.

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