The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has extended the period for accepting expressions of interest from overseas developers to carry out work on the sixth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park.
The deadline for receipt of the expressions — which are for building 900 megawatts of electricity generation capacity using photovoltaic panels at the solar park — was originally set on October 10, but has now been moved to 12pm of November 1, the utility said on Saturday.
Dewa did not provide a reason for the extension.
Dewa's chief executive Saeed Al Tayer said during last month's Wetex industry event in Dubai that the company was planning to float two tenders for independent power producers (IPPs) — one for solar energy and another for a water desalination plant — in the coming months as it seeks to boost the emirate's utility portfolio.
Mr Al Tayer did not disclose the value of the planned tenders.
The company's future projects will primarily rely on private developers for investments with the utility investing in equity, based on the IPP model, he said.
“An IPP is the most economical and most reliable for us because you will have the latest technology and you will have a power purchase agreement for the next 25 years,” Mr Al Tayer added.
Dewa has attracted about Dh40 billion ($10.9bn) of investments through the IPP model and has achieved world records for the lowest prices for solar energy, Mr Al Tayer said. It is also banking on public-private partnerships (PPPs) to support its operations.
PPPs are considered a “vital mechanism” to help governments fund investments and bring technology, innovation and efficiency, which in turn can improve performance and financial sustainability, said Fady Juez, managing director of Metito, an alternative energy management solutions company.
“A PPP project is one of the most efficient and sustainable ways to implement these type of large infrastructure projects because we reach an alignment of interest among all parties involved and everybody works together,” he said.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, with total investments of about Dh50bn. Upon completion, it will eliminate more than 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
In September, Dewa signed a partnership agreement with Dutch start-up Desolenator to build a carbon-neutral water purification and desalination system that is completely powered by solar energy.
Also last month, the utility said it had received four bids from international companies for a consultancy contract for the sixth phase of the solar park.
Dewa has been focused on boosting the production of clean energy in Dubai, which continues to tap into renewable energy sources to power its future economy.
At present, about 12 per cent of Dubai's energy mix comes from clean sources, Mr Al Tayer said. The emirate plans to raise that figure to 14 per cent by the end of this year.