Abu Dhabi’s state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, in partnership with Total (a French oil company) and Abengoa Solar (a Spanish solar company) are planning to develop the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant.
The CSP power plant dubbed Shams 1 (the Arabic word for “Sun“) will cover one square mile of the desert in Madinat Zayed, about 75 miles from Abu Dhabi and will be able to generate 100 MW of electricity.
Unlike other solar power plants, Shams 1 will not use mirrors to heat liquid, but will use them to heat oil, which will later heat water to run a steam generator that produces electricity.
According to Masdar, this plant will offset about 170,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, being the equivalent of removing 150,000 cars from Abu Dhabi roads or planting 1.5 million trees. Abu Dhabi claims that until 2020, seven percent of its electricity will be obtained from renewable energy sources.
Shams 1 is the first such plant to be registered under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism, which makes it eligible for carbon credits. Masdar also said that this plant is the first commercial-scale solar project in the United Arab Emirates and after 2 years it will be followed by Shams 2 and 3.