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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 March 2021

Masdar looks to double clean energy capacity as demand for renewables grows

The company plans to submit bids for three projects with a collective capacity of 1 gigawatt in Uzbekistan

Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar plans to double its current capacity of 10.7 gigawatts over the next five years as it helps governments chart a sustainable recovery path after Covid-19.

The company, which has wind, solar and waste-to-energy assets around the world, also intends to set up pilot hydrogen fuel projects in the UAE during the period, according to Yousif Al Ali, executive director for clean energy.

Mr Al Ali was speaking on the sidelines of the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week that is being held online this year as a result of the pandemic.

The company announced on Monday that it bought stakes in two major wind farm projects in Poland. The 37.4-megawatt Mlawa wind farm in Mazowieckie and the 14MW Grajewo project in Podlaskie will be developed through a 50:50 joint venture with Taaleri SolarWind II Fund.

The acquisitions come after other recent agreements to participate in projects in Uzbekistan and the US.

The former Soviet state has become a hotspot for renewable energy investment from key Middle East players. Masdar reached financial close last month on a 100MW solar photovoltaic plant in Uzbekistan – the country's first independent power producer.

The project was financed by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Masdar also previously worked on a 500MW utility-scale wind project in the country.

Mr Al Ali noted that Uzbekistan was keen on a sustainable recovery and said Masdar plans to bid for three projects in the country with a collective capacity of 1 gigawatt.

“We have seen also that governments are thinking about [a] sustainable green recovery from this economic crisis," Mr Al Ali said.

"So, people think about spending funds on green, sustainable initiatives. This, for us, is an opportunity and also our duty to support these governments and be part of their sustainability plans.”

The International Renewable Energy Agency, which is based in Abu Dhabi, called on governments to push through green stimulus programmes for a “far-sighted”, longer-lasting recovery.

The agency said a new energy mix could create jobs and boost gross domestic product between 2021 and 2023.

Masdar pressed ahead with renewable projects during the pandemic, most notably through its participation in the Al Dhafra project.

The 2-gigawatt project is set to be one of the world’s largest solar PV power plants.

Masdar, which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment company Mubadala, revealed this week that it plans to build hydrogen-production plants. The pilot projects will also focus on how the clean fuel can be used to power vehicles, Mr Al Ali said.

Masdar signed an agreement yesterday with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, the Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University, Siemens Energy and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation to support the development of the UAE’s green hydrogen economy.

Mr Al Ali was also optimistic about the potential of the US as a market for renewables under the incoming Biden administration.

Updated: January 19, 2021 11:53 AM

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