Dubai ready to explore floating PV in Persian Gulf

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The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has issued a request for proposals to seek consultants to help it explore the development of floating PV projects in the Persian Gulf.

The move, announced by the state-owned body yesterday, comes despite heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran which prompted American President Donald Trump to last month consign Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln to the region, with the White House claiming Tehran is making preparations to target commercial shipping in the strategic waterway.

Making no mention of the mounting political crisis, DEWA announced it is seeking consultants to prepare “a feasibility study, the technical requirements for a floating solar photovoltaic plant, an environmental impact assessment report, a study of the marine requirements and other necessary studies on setting up electrical transmission, a safety plan, and … seawater feasibility studies including tidal and system specifications and system performance”.

A grand ambition

The authority stated floating PV is being explored as part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 (DCES 2050) initiative launched under the auspices of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of the emirate of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

DEWA said achieving the DCES ambition of making “Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050”, would require 42 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by that date. Local media have reported that would mean 75% of the city’s energy being sourced from renewables by 2050.

The highest profile aspect of the DCES 2050 initiative to date is the sprawling Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is intended to have 5 GW of renewable energy generation capacity – including PV and concentrating PV – by 2030. That ambitious project will cost around AED50 billion ($13.6 billion), according to DEWA.

However, with Gulf states having a reputation for making grand renewables ambition announcements which do not always come to fruition, the press release issued by DEWA calling for floating PV consultants gave no details of how and when interested parties should apply.