Abu Dhabi-based Masdar has increased its renewable energy capacity by 1.5 gigawatts this year as it pursues a long-term goal of doubling the proportion of its clean energy portfolio in the next few years.
The company currently has wind, solar and waste-to-energy assets around the world and operates in more than 30 countries with a total investment of about $19.9 billion.
“This year we have grown ... and managed to get 1.5 gigawatts capacity to our portfolio, mainly in the Central Asia region,” Fawaz Al Muharrami, acting executive director of clean energy at Masdar told The National in an interview.
Masdar, which is fully owned by Mubadala Investment Company, has been rapidly expanding in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kazakhstan as it aims to meet the demand for renewables in the Central Asia region. Earlier this year, it unveiled the 100 megawatt Nur Navoi solar plant in Uzbekistan. It also won a bid to develop a 200-megawatt project in Armenia.
The clean energy company is now seeking new opportunities beyond the Central Asia region to double its renewables portfolio, Mr Al Muharrami said.
“Our aim is to double our renewable energy capacity in the next three to four years from 5.5 gigawatts currently to 10 gigawatts or 12 gigawatts,” he said. Masdar wants to increase its gross capacity, in partnership with other companies, from 13 gigawatts to 26 gigawatts.
Mr Al Muharrami said the company has already submitted bids to develop new projects in Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Israel and Malaysia.
The new projects include a 50-megawatt floating photovoltaic plant in Malaysia and a 450-megawatt plant in South Africa. It has submitted a bid to develop a 180 megawatt solar plant in Israel along with its partner EDF Renewables of France. The project would be the company's first in Israel if the contract is awarded to the company.
Masdar is also “reviewing and assessing the possibility to take some of the assets” of its EDF Renewables in Israel to boost its portfolio, Mr Al Muharrami said.
The Abu Dhabi clean energy company and EDF Renewables signed a strategic agreement in January to explore renewable energy opportunities in Israel as the country ramps up its clean energy capacity, according to Wam.
Israel plans to generate 30 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, up from a previous target of 17 per cent, as it phases out the use of coal.
Masdar is also “actively engaged” in Iraq and is working with the country’s government to find new opportunities, Mr Al Muharrami said.
“We signed an MoU with Iraq for the development of 2 gigawatts projects and we are trying to pitch a proposal for the government to develop a (new) project,” he said, without giving further details.
Iraq, the second-largest oil producer in Opec, is looking to increase the share of renewables in its total power mix by the end of this decade to meet demand for energy and tackle emissions.
Masdar also plans to develop waste-to-energy plants in Abu Dhabi and Australia as well as desalination water projects in Saudi Arabia and Egypt as part of its expansion plans to boost growth.
The company is involved in the development of the world's largest solar plant at Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi. The 2-gigawatt plant is expected to be fully operational next year.