Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is planning to launch a tender for a 1,800MW PV plant in 2014, media reports reveal.
Citing Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, Chairman of the organising sub-committee of the UN climate change conference, which is currently being held in Doha until 7 December, Reuters revealed that the 1,800MW PV plant will require an investment of between US$10-20 billion.
Scheduled to complete by 2018, it will help Qatar to increase its share of renewables in the energy mix to 16%. He added that the plant “will be developed in a concession format” and that “there'll be blocks”.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg revealed that the tender for the first 200MW of the 1,800MW plant will be launched in the first three months of 2013.
Citing Qatar’s Energy Minister, Mohammed al-Sada, Bloomberg reported that when the first 200MW has been installed by 2020 it will provide 2% of the country’s energy demand. The project will use various solar technologies including solar thermal. Al-Sada also revealed that the country is producing polysilicon for the manufacture of solar cells for use in the project.
The solar project is in line with Qatar’s larger plans to generate 20% of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2030. Recent months have seen several Middle Eastern countries launch renewable energy targets including Saudi Arabia which seeks to generate a third of its energy from renewable sources and Dubai which is aiming to generate 5% of its energy demand from renewables.
Supporting Qatar’s renewable energy plans is the recent launch of the country’s first large-scale solar testing facility. Established by Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), GreenGulf and Chevron Qatar, it was officially inaugurated on 2 December and will be involved in the testing of emerging solar technologies from around the world in order to identify those best suited to the climate of the Gulf region.
Furthermore, the facility will support the deployment of solar energy in Qatar and the region by generating data for the planning of large-scale solar power production facilities and other key applications such as solar cooling and solar desalination.