Masdar today signed a contract with Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Energy, and Mines, to deliver seven solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, with a total capacity of 12 megawatts, providing access to clean and reliable energy to seven towns across the country. Completion of all the projects is expected by the first quarter of 2016.
When complete, the solar-power projects are expected to displace 6 million liters of diesel fuel annually and 16,134 tonnes of CO2 each year. Each of the power plants will, on average, meet 30 percent of each town’s electricity demand.
“Projects like these unlock significant economic and social benefits by providing more reliable and efficient local sources of electricity,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar. “Masdar is committed to showcasing how renewable energy can provide a cost-competitive solution to meeting rising energy demands and improving energy security for nations with isolated grids.”
The projects will add significant energy capacity to each of the seven towns, which include Boutilimit, Aleg, Aioune, Akjoujt, Atar, Al Shami and Boulenour. Three of the solar plants will be 1 megawatt, three 2 megawatt and one, 3 megawatt.
“The solar projects Masdar is delivering demonstrate the valuable role renewable energy is playing in the social and economic development by positively impacting the lives of citizens, through the provision of clean energy at commercial rates for our country,” said H.E. Mohamed Ould Khouna, Mauritania’s minister of petroleum, energy and mines. “Mauritania and the UAE have enjoyed a longstanding relationship of mutual cooperation. With the projects announced today, we will once again be contributing to the sustainable growth of the country.”
Masdar will tender the project in the first quarter of this year and intends to engage local suppliers and contractors wherever possible. It will also work closely with Mauritania’s government and its energy company Mauritania Electricity Company (Somelec), throughout the planning and delivery of the project.
“The significant addition of clean and reliable energy capacity, will make a major difference for businesses and residents in towns across Mauritania,” said Mohamed Salem Ould Vall, deputy director general, Somelec. “In Masdar, we have a trusted partner with on the ground experience. Its extensive background in project delivery, both in Mauritania and globally, ensure it has the understanding and expertise required for the project.”
The majority of the PV plants are oversized, so they can provide additional generation capacity as needed, following upgrades to the local electricity grids and increased demand from planned growth. Significant gains in the efficiency of energy generation will also be achieved by reducing the amount of energy diesel generators need to produce at points of peak demand by 70 percent. This will add greater durability to energy supply and significantly reduce costly maintenance of diesel generators.
This is Masdar’s second project in Mauritania, as the company delivered a 15-megawatt PV plant in 2013 – the first utility-scale solar power installation in the country.