Abu Dhabi is expected to issue the request for proposals (RFP) for the contract to develop its third major solar photovoltaic (PV) independent power project, PV3, next year.

Abu Dhabi state offtaker Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) is in the process of receiving transaction advisory bids for PV3, which sources say will likely have a capacity of 1,500MW.

“The PV3 tender is scheduled to be issued next year, with transaction advisers expected to be appointed soon,” one of the sources tells MEED.

The site location for the PV3 was being finalised, MEED reported in January 2020, citing Bruce Smith, Ewec forecasting and planning director.

“There are a couple of potential sites and which site is confirmed may have some bearing on the size of the project that goes ahead,” Smith told MEED at the time.

However, Ewec delayed issuing the transaction advisory tender for PV3, which was expected last year.

Ewec’s 2021 to 2027 capacity requirements statement, released in May, also said only a small amount of solar PV generation in addition to the capacity under construction is required in 2026, with the next significant expansion envisaged in 2027.

More recent developments related to the procurement timeline for PV3 indicate this position could have changed.

In November, Abu Dhabi Energy Department (DoE) said the emirate is planning two solar schemes with a combined capacity of 2,000MW as part of the UAE’s drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 29 million tonnes annually by 2030.

The planned schemes will contribute to roughly 10% of the country’s carbon reduction target.

2050 net-zero support

In addition to the existing and planned solar PV schemes, the 5,600MW electricity generation capacity of the Barakah nuclear energy plant, when all its four units are completed and operational, will support the country’s target for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the intervening carbon reduction target by 2030.

By 2025, Abu Dhabi’s combined clean energy capacity is estimated to reach 8,800MW or equivalent to 31% of its total electricity production mix, up from 13% today, DoE said.

Abu Dhabi’s first utility-scale solar PV scheme (PV1), which has a capacity of 1,177MW and is located in Sweihan, entered commercial operations in 2019. PV2, located in Al-Dhafra and which has a design capacity of 2,000MW, is under construction and expected to be completed late next year.

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