Masdar will develop new solar projects in Iraq as the Abu Dhabi-based company continues to expand its renewable energy portfolio.
The UAE company signed an agreement with Iraq’s National Investment Commission to develop photovoltaic projects with a minimum capacity of two gigawatts, according to a statement from the company on Friday.
A number of officials from the two countries including UAE Minister of Energy Suhail Al Mazroui, and his counterpart in Iraq, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, took part in the online signing ceremony. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Trade, was also present.
"Iraq is targeting 20 to 25 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources, rather than fossil fuels, equivalent to 10 to 12 gigawatts," said Mr Ismail, Iraq's oil minister.
“This agreement with Masdar, a global leader in renewable energy, is an important step in the development of the clean energy investment sector and the exploitation of solar energy in Iraq.”
Masdar, fully owned by Mubadala Investment Company, is a major player in the renewable energy sector around the globe. It currently operates in more than 30 countries with a total renewable energy capacity of more than 11 gigawatts representing a combined investment of approximately $20 billion.
The Masdar City-based clean energy company aims to double its renewable energy capacity in the next five years as a number of countries look to develop new projects to lower emissions and protect the environment.
“The UAE is committed to working with the Republic of Iraq to develop sustainable energy resources. This initiative also highlights the importance of public and private sector partnerships in finding affordable solutions,” Mr Al Mazroui, said.
Masdar also signed agreements with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Greece on new renewable energy projects this year. It is also exploring new opportunities in South-East Asia with a focus on Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The project is one of the largest renewable photovoltaic solar projects in the Middle East, and falls within the vision of Iraq’s sustainable transition plan 2021-2030, according to Suha Al Najar, president of the National Investment Commission for the Republic of Iraq.
“The project ensures clean and sustainable energy production for different areas in Iraq, and displaces carbon dioxide emissions resulting from fossil fuel generation," he said. "The project will also provide new jobs in the energy sector, with the manpower for project construction and operation beyond 2,000.”
The total investment in the deal was not revealed.
Iraq, the second-largest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is looking to increase the percentage of renewables in its total power production capacity by the end of this decade to address supply issues and meet climate objectives, according to the statement.
Global renewable energy capacity rose by 10.3 per cent to 2,799 gigawatts in 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
More than 260 gigawatts of capacity were added, a 50 per cent increase compared with 2019, the agency said in a report.
Solar energy made up more than 48 per cent of last year’s renewable capacity additions, accounting for 127 gigawatts.
Solar capacity grew by 22 per cent from the previous year, while wind power capacity grew by 18 per cent to 111 gigawatts.