Major Renewable Energy Projects Happening In The Middle East


The Middle East is well on its way to becoming one of the most important Renewable Energy hu...

NES Fircroft

By NES Fircroft

The Middle East is well on its way to becoming one of the most important Renewable Energy hubs in the world, as the region’s countries push to increase the share of Renewables within their energy mix.

Middle East Energy Transition recently highlighted that no contracts were awarded for oil-powered or gas-fuelled power stations in the Middle East and North Africa region in the first semester of 2021. In the same period, there were about $2.8billion of renewable energy project contracts awarded in the region.

There are a lot of exciting Renewable Energy projects happening in the region, creating plenty of job opportunities. Here are just a few to look out for.

Al Dhafra Solar Project – Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Al Dhafra Solar Project is a 2GW photovoltaic (PV) independent power producer (IPP) project which will be located about 35km south of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, the two Abu Dhabi-based electricity companies held by the government, own 60% of the project, which is being developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. The other 40% of the shares are owned by the Chinese company Jinko Power and the French electricity company EDF Renewables.

The consortium of the 4-above companies signed a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) back in July 2020. Commissioning for the project is scheduled for 2022, whilst the construction phase is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs.

Once fully operational, it’s expected that the plant will reduce CO2 emissions by over 2.4 million tonnes a year (equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars off the road). The panels installed will use the latest solar PV modules based on crystalline, bifacial module technology, which capture sunlight from both sides to increase their yield.

This project comes as part of the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to boost the proportion of renewables within the country’s total energy mix from a quarter to half by 2050.

Noor Energy 1 – Dubai, UAE

Noor Energy 1 is the fourth phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. It’s a 950 MW hybrid project, with 700MW of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and 250MW of photovoltaics. Once complete, the $3.9 billion project will be the world’s largest single-site CSP plant in the world.

The project is being developed by ACWA Power, a power generation company based in Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with Shanghai Electric, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and Abengoa, a Spanish company.

DEWA, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, awarded a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract, which includes a 35-year PPA, for the CPS plant to a consortium of ACWA Power and Shanghai Electric back in September 2017. The agreement to add the 250MW of PV facility was made in November 2018.

The Noor Energy 1 project comes in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to reach 75% of Dubai’s energy generation from clean energy sources by 2050.

Hatta Wind Power Project – Dubai, UAE

Hatta in the Hajar Mountains has been chosen as the location for the UAE’s first wind farm, which is expected to reach a total capacity of 28MW.

Led by DEWA, this project is also a part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and is currently at the feasibility study phase.

The location for the farm was chosen following field visits and wind studies, and actual wind speed is currently being measured over the course of a year using a 150m tower. The feasibility study will enable DEWA to better determine the total capacity of the farm as well as technical elements such as the average annual operating hours and the number of turbines.

The Hatta Wind Power Project was announced during the commissioning of the first 300MW of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid (MBR) Solar Park in Dubai.

As stated by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA,

‘The project to generate electricity using wind power is part of our efforts to diversify clean and renewable energy sources in Dubai. These include photovoltaic solar panels technology, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), green hydrogen production using renewable energy, and pumped-storage technology in the hydroelectric power station in Hatta.’

Sudair Solar Power Plant – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Sudair Solar Power Plant is expected to become one of the largest single-contracted solar PV plants in the world and the largest of its kind in Saudi Arabia, with a total generation capacity of 1.5GW.

The PV technology will involve bi-facial panels with tracking technology, and an automated robotic cleaning system.

The project, led by ACWA Power, achieved financial close in August 2021 and is worth SAR3.4billion ($906m). ACWA (35%) is leading a consortium for this project, alongside Water and Electricity Holding Company (Badeel, 35%) and the Aramco subsidiary Saudi Aramco Power Company (SAPCO, 30%). Badeel is a portfolio company of the Public Investments Fund (PIF).

The Sudair Solar project was unveiled during the inauguration ceremony of the 300MW Sakaka solar project in April 2021, which is the first utility-scale solar energy project in Saudi Arabia.

This is the first project under the Public Investment Fund’s renewable energy programme and is expected to produce enough energy to power 185,000 homes, offsetting nearly 2.9 million tons of emissions per year. Initial commissioning for the project is expected for the second semester of 2022.

Manah I & II Projects – Manah, Oman

The Manah I and II Solar Independent Power Projects (IPPs) will have a combined capacity of 1GW (500MW each) and are expected to start commercial operations in the last quarter of 2023 and the first of 2024 respectively. This was announced following an adjustment in the implementation timeframe for the project to factor in the pandemic and global economic slump.

The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) oversee the project which is estimated to be worth RO300 million ($780million). Technical submissions for the two projects were received by the company earlier in 2021, whilst the deadline for commercial proposals was the 25th of May 2021, although it was subsequently extended. Nine international consortiums have already been prequalified to participate in OPWP’s competitive tender for the Manah Solar I and II schemes.

As a statement made by the Oman Vision 2040 Implementation Follow-Up Unit says,

‘Manah 1 and 2 solar projects will contribute in diversifying Oman’s energy sources to achieve the target of generating 30 per cent of electricity through renewable sources by 2030.’

It’s expected that Manah I and II will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by around 680,000 tonnes.

Supporting Renewable Energy in the Middle East

NES Fircroft has over 40 years experience in the Power sector. We’re excited to see such drive and passion behind the growth of the Renewable Energy industry in the Middle East, with many of the countries promoting new technologies and raising their own already ambitious targets.

If you have staffing needs for a Renewable Energy project, our discipline-specific consultants can support with all stages of your project life cycle, supplying skilled personnel from the funding, design and installation phases right through to project management and grid installations.

We work on some of the most exciting renewable energy projects globally and we have plenty of job opportunities for engineers looking to enhance their energy careers.

You can also find out more about our experience in the Renewable Energy industry.