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Total-Abengoa Solar consortium appointed for Masdar project

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions, has appointed the bidding consortium of Total and Abengoa Solar as a partner to own, build and operate Shams 1, the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant and the first of its kind in the Middle East.

One of Masdar’s flagship projects, Shams 1 will directly contribute towards Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving 7% renewable energy power generation capacity by the year 2020.

The joint venture between Masdar (60%), Total (20%) and Abengoa Solar (20%) will develop, build, operate and maintain the plant which will be located in Madinat Zayed, approximately 120km southwest of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Shams 1 will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, extending over an area of 2.5 km², with a capacity of approximately 100 MW and a solar field consisting of 768 parabolic trough collectors to be supplied by Abengoa Solar. Construction is set to begin during Q3 2010 and is expected to take approximately two years.

Masdar chief executive officer Sultan Al-Jaber said: “The launch of Shams 1 marks a very important milestone for Masdar and for Abu Dhabi. I am very proud of the announcement we are making today because this project, which will be the first utility scale, commercial solar power project in the UAE, represents the translation into reality of the vision the Abu Dhabi leadership has for renewable energy in the Emirate.

“In addition, Shams 1 will allow Masdar to transfer to Abu Dhabi the know-how and expertise we have gained from our involvement in developing world-class renewable energy projects abroad, thus not only opening the door for renewable energy projects in the UAE but also for technology transfer, contributing towards the development of a knowledge-based economy and new job opportunities through the specializations required to manage and operate the plant.” 

Shams 1 is registered as a project under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and is eligible for carbon credits. It is be the first CSP plant registered under the CDM and the second project registered for Masdar. The plant will displace approximately 175,000t of CO2 per year, equivalent to planting 1.5M trees or removing 15,000 cars from Abu Dhabi’s roads.

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