Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s future energy company, today announced that it had passed the halfway mark in its project to construct a 16.6 MW solar power plant network in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Masdar broke ground on the project in December last year. When complete, the network of eight solar power plants will almost double the UAE’s contribution to Mauritania’s renewable energy capacity to a total of 31.6 MW.
The plants will supply 30% of the electricity demand to the remote communities of Boutilimit, Aleg, Aioune, Akjoujt, Atar, El Chami, Boulenour and Bani Chab, reducing their dependency on diesel-fuelled generators, decreasing annual fuel costs and lowering carbon dioxide emissions. None of these communities are currently connected to the national grid.
Commenting on the project, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: “Masdar operates across the whole clean energy chain, from developing utility-scale projects to deploying off-grid solutions. In Mauritania, we are executing a project, furthering the UAE’s historic role as a supporter of clean energy access around the globe. Delivery of this innovative network will bring electricity to thousands of families for the first time, changing their lives for the better and further enabling socio-economic development.”
Mauritanian national electricity provider Société Mauritanienne d’electricité (SOMELEC) selected Masdar as the preferred partner for the project based on the successful delivery of the 15 MW Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant in the capital city of Nouakchott. At the time of its completion in 2013, this plant was the largest solar power installation in Africa and Mauritania’s first utility-scale solar power project, accounting for more than 10 per cent of the country’ grid-connected capacity.
Mr Khaled Ballaith, Director of Masdar Special Projects, said: “By working in remote locations like Afghanistan and the Pacific Islands, our team has acquired vast expertise in deploying small-scale off-grid solutions to communities without access to secure energy. Our capacity for efficient delivery under challenging conditions is the reason why we were assigned this project in Mauritania. Coupling innovative project management strategies with cutting edge technology has ensured we can deliver clean energy to these communities.”
The eleventh largest country in the African continent, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is one of several developing nations in the west of North Africa that seeks to increase the renewable energy share of the total energy mix. The country is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels purchased on fixed term contracts to provide power for both transport and electricity generation.
Masdar works to advance the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy technologies and solutions. Over the course of its first decade of operations, Masdar has driven the adoption of renewable energy and sustainable developmentin the Arab region.