Masdar and Bee’ah joint venture to develop UAE’s first solar landfill project

The Sharjah project will be completed in different phases and will generate 120 megawatts of clean energy

The Sharjah skyline. Emirates Waste to Energy Company, a joint venture between Bee’ah and Masdar, will develop the UAE’s first solar landfill project in Sharjah. Courtesy Asteco
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Emirates Waste to Energy Company, a joint venture between Bee’ah and Masdar, will develop the UAE’s first solar landfill project in Sharjah to boost the emirate’s renewable energy generation capacity.

In a solar landfill project, solar panels are installed on top of a landfill site to make optimum use of space while generating clean energy.

“Waste is a growing issue in the Gulf Cooperation Council region," Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, chief executive of Masdar, said on Thursday. "However, this project highlights how we can utilise closed landfills to deliver clean energy, while simultaneously supporting the UAE’s clean energy targets and UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The project has a total capacity of 120 megawatts and will be constructed on top of Sharjah’s Al Sajah landfill, close to Bee’ah’s waste management complex, according to the statement. It will be completed in three phases, with the first phase due for completion in 2023.

“Bee’ah is looking to create new value from capped landfills while supporting the deployment of renewable energy in the UAE,” said Khaled Al Huraimel, group chief executive of Bee’ah and chairman of the Emirates Waste to Energy Company.

Emirates Waste to Energy Company will be responsible for the financing, design, procurement and construction of the project. It will also provide operation and maintenance services at the project for 25 years. The total investment in the project was not disclosed.

Established in 2017, Emirates Waste to Energy Company is also constructing a 30MW waste-to-energy facility in Sharjah, which is due to be completed later this year.

The UAE aims to increase the contribution of clean energy to its total energy mix from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2050. It is developing a number of renewable energy projects including the world's largest solar power plant in Abu Dhabi.

Separately on Thursday, Masdar signed an agreement with Etihad Credit Insurance, the UAE’s federal export credit company, to work on initiatives aimed at supporting investment in renewable projects.

As part of the deal, ECI and Masdar will explore establishing political and commercial risk insurance solutions to improve bankability and attract cheaper capital to Masdar’s renewable projects in the UAE and globally.

ECI will also support Masdar in its global expansion through “tailor-made credit insurance solutions in order to enhance its overall viability and competitiveness globally, as well as through extending its products and solutions to other companies registered at Masdar City”.

Masdar will also be collaborating with China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company to explore the development of renewable energy projects worldwide. The deal was signed virtually as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2021 on Thursday, according to a statement from Masdar.

Masdar is currently active in more than 30 countries with a total renewable energy capacity of 10.7 gigawatts.