The emirate of Umm Al Quwain has signed a cooperation agreement with the UAE Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) for the construction of a 200 MW solar power plant in Falaj Al Mualla, an inland oasis town, according to an announcement given on the government’s Twitter account.
The agreement was signed by the crown prince of Umm Al Qaiwain, Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla and Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, the emirate’s Minister of Energy and Industry, who is also the president of the FEWA.
The solar plant, which will be deployed on an area of about five million square meters, is expected to supply clean energy to the emirate and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, the government noted. More technical and financial details on the project, however, have not yet been disclosed.
Unlike the country’s two largest emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are now implementing large-scale plans for solar energy development in an effort to diversify their respective economies away from fossil fuel dependency, the emirate of Umm Al Quwain has an economy chiefly based on tourism, fishing, and agriculture.
In Dubai, the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) is pushing forward the emirate’s solar plans through the Shams Dubai scheme for residential and commercial PV and one of the world’s largest utility-scale project – the 5 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum Solar Park.
In Abu Dhabi, a net metering scheme for rooftop solar is also being implemented, while a 1.17 GW solar park is currently under construction by Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (ADWEA), being executed by a JV formed between Chinese module maker Jinko Solar and Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp.
The UAE launched its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ in 2017. This strategy aims at increasing the share of clean energy in the country’s energy mix to 50% by 2050 and reduce the carbon footprint of power generation by 70%. The UAE government, however, has included nuclear power among its list of clean energies. Of the 50% target, optimistically, renewables are expected to represent a percentage of 44%, while nuclear energy will account for the remaining 6%. The other half of the UAE energy demand is planned to be covered by 38% with gas and by 12% with “clean” coal.