Dubai has this need to constantly have its name on the world map – tallest building, biggest flag, biggest malls…get the gist of it? Something in the superlative always.
Well, the latest and for one which it deserves all the kudos is the largest solar single-site solar park in the world. It is creating, deep in the desert, solar panels and concentrated solar power arrays with a cumulative capacity of 5,000 megawatts.
This project cost is pegged currently at $14 billion and once fully functional, could power as many as 1.3 million homes, reducing carbon emissions by 6.5 million tonnes The project is scheduled to be completed fully by 2030 and will take three times as long to finish as the Burj Khalifa.
Phase one and two, which are already complete, comprised 2.3 million photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 213 megawatts. Phase three, deep in construction, adds over 3 million photovoltaics and another 800 megawatts, and will be completed in 2020.
It aims to be the tallest concentrated solar power (CSP) tower in the world. It will use mirrors called heliostats to focus sunlight at the top of the tower, in order to heat up a flow of molten salts. The heat is used to power steam turbines, generating electricity. What this means is that the CSP can continue to create electricity even without the sun and well into the night. Dubai's tower can store heat for 15 hours and will be able to provide power 24 hours a day. The CSP tower will top out at 260 meters (853 feet) when completed, DEWA added, and will be surrounded by 70,000 heliostats.
It is amazing that a country which produces oil and is an oil guzzler, is looking ahead at renewable energy in such a big way; looking at more sustainable sources of energy.