The United Arab Emirates (UAE), known for oil and gas, has entered the renewable energy market with Solar Power Company launching Shams 1, the world’s biggest concentrated solar power station (CPS).
The Shams 1 is a partnership between Masdar (UAE), a renewable energy company, Abengoa, a Spanish energy infrastructure company and Total, a French energy company who funded the $600 million, three year, 100-megawatt solar-thermal plant project. Shams 1 is located in the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate and provides power for 20,000 residents, and reduces CO2 emissions by 175,000 tons per year.
Concentrated solar power captures the sun’s heat to generate power, in contrast to photovoltaic solar, which converts sunlight directly into electricity.
Simplistically, Shams 1 collects sunlight with its 258,048 mirrors that concentrate sunlight to boil water, which produces steam, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. A dry-cooling system reduces water consumption.
“The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major breakthrough for renewable energy in the Middle East,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, in a written statement. “Just like the rest of the word, the region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint. Shams 1 is a significant milestone, as large-scale renewable energy is proving it can deliver electricity that is sustainable, affordable and secure.”
Other countries that are heavily involved in CPS research are the United States, which currently has the world’s tallest solar collector, Germany and Spain.
Edited by Brooke Neuman