By: LeAnne Graves
Abu Dhabi’s Masdar is eyeing wind and solar energy projects in Oman and Saudi Arabia as the renewables sector attracts more investment throughout the region.
“Oman is stepping forward and we’re expecting Saudi Arabia to offer tenders this year,” said Bader Al Lamki, the director of Masdar Clean Energy.
“There is momentum building up in the region [for clean energy projects].”
Masdar entered Oman’s wind market in October, signing a deal to build a 50 megawatts wind farm in the Dhofar region.
The US$125 million project is the group’s first large-scale wind venture in the GCC, with construction set to start by the end of this year. Masdar estimates that it can generate enough clean electricity to power 16,000 homes.
The last time a Masdar project came online, or fed electricity into the power grid, was in 2013.
Mr Lamki said that 2014 was more about making new investments, but 2015 was going to be a combination of bringing projects online or closer to completion while establishing new ventures.
Masdar expects the Tafila wind farm in Jordan to complete after the summer. The 117MW project costs an estimated $290m and will increase the country’s total power capacity by 3 per cent.
“Wind and solar is our bread and butter,” he said.
The Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) project came online in 2013.It has the capacity to feed 100MW of electricity into the national grid.
Last year marked a first for Masdar as the company acquired a stake in its first offshore wind project. The 402MW Dudgeon wind project in the UK is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“As the only Opec nation supplying both traditional and renewable energyto international markets, the UAE is committed to accelerating the use of wind energy as an effective means of balancing the global energy mix as we move toward a sustainable, low carbon future,” said Sultan Al Jaber, the chairman of Masdar.