UAE Wind Program launched by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince

9 Oct 2023
UAE Wind Program launched by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince

Wind farms in four locations, with total combined capacity of 100+ megawatts, will power more than 23,000 homes, introducing large-scale, utility wind power to the UAE’s electricity grid; turbines feature latest technology to capture low wind speeds at utility scale

HH Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, inaugurated the UAE Wind Program during a ceremony on Sir Bani Yas Island last week Thursday, 5 October.

Breezing through the numbers

The 103.5-megawatt (MW) landmark project, developed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company – Masdar – will introduce cost-effective, large-scale, utility wind power to the UAE’s electricity grid. The project leverages advances in technology, material science and aerodynamics to capture low wind speeds at utility scale, paving the way for further projects, according to a statement from Masdar last week.

The UAE Wind Program, which began with the establishment of the region’s first wind power station on Sir Bani Yas Island in 2004, is expected to power more than 23,000 UAE homes a year.

The project spans four locations, including Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, where a 45 MW capacity wind farm plus 14 MWp (megawatt peak) solar farm has been developed, expanding on existing wind power facilities on the island. The include Delma Island (27 MW), and Al Sila in Abu Dhabi (27 MW), as well as Al Halah in Fujairah (4.5 MW).

No project completion date was given in the company's announcement.

Long road to wind

Speaking at the event, His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan highlighted the late Sheikh Zayed’s commitment to sustainability and preserving the environment.

Previously, wind energy was not viable at utility scale due to low wind speeds in the UAE, but innovations in technology and UAE-led expertise have made power generation using wind possible. Larger turbines, lower hardware costs, and the discovery of a unique weather phenomenon that generates high winds at night, have made the UAE Wind Program project scalable and economically viable. Wind power being strongest at night in the UAE complements the country’s existing solar power generation.

Tripling renewable energy

“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,” said HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President, CEO of ADNOC, Chairman of Masdar,, on the occasion of the inauguration.

Al Jaber, speaking at the opening of the MENA Climate Summit in Riyadh yesterday, continued his plea for massive expansion of renewable energy. 

“For a viable energy transition, the world must triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement goals,” he said.

“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.”

A report by Energy & Utilities revealed that the MEA (Middle East & Africa) region would see a boost in wind energy in the next 5 years.

E&U reported that a consortium, which included Masdar, signed an agreement with Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority to secure land to build one of the largest wind farms in Africa.

David Haziri contributed reporting

Photo credit: Masdar

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