Masdar and EDF venture Emerge to use solar energy at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi theme park

The project will have solar photovoltaic systems on rooftops with a total capacity of 8.2 megawatts

An artist's impression of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. Photo: Masdar
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Emerge, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar and French utility EDF, is setting up a rooftop solar power project at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi theme park as part of a partnership signed with Yas Island management company Miral Asset Management.

The project in the first SeaWorld location outside North America will use rooftop solar photovoltaic systems with a total capacity of 8.2 megawatts, Masdar said on Wednesday.

Emerge will handle the project's design, construction, operation and maintenance.

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, located on Yas Island, is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and will feature the world's largest aquarium that will house about 68,000 marine animals.

“The deployment of new solar energy systems is consistent with our progress towards further leveraging the capacity of sustainable sources across our developments," said Mohamed Al Zaabi, chief executive of Miral.

Emerge will handle the project's design, construction, operation and maintenance. Photo: Masdar

The use of solar power in the UAE continues to grow as the country aggressively taps into renewable energy sources to achieve its sustainability pledges.

In October, the UAE announced its Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative, which calls for Dh600 billion ($163bn) to be invested in clean and renewable energy sources in the next three decades.

It also recorded the largest increase in renewable energy capacity worldwide over the past decade, Australia-based Compare the Market said in its Green Fuel Index report.

In May, the Emirates Water and Electricity Company invited companies to submit expressions of interest for a new solar project in Abu Dhabi's Al Ajban area, which aims to become one of the world's largest with a total power generating capacity of 1,500 megawatts.

The UAE is already home to two of the largest solar facilities in the world. These include the 5,000-megawatt Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai and the planned Abu Dhabi's Al Dharfra Solar Park.

The global solar power market is projected to hit more than $368bn by 2030, from about $198bn in 2021, growing at a compound annual rate of 7.2 per cent, according to Canada-based Precedence Research.

The solar project at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi can be a catalyst to help others in the private sector tap into green energy resources, which in turn will help the UAE to achieve its sustainability goals, said Laurent Clement, chief executive of EDF Middle East.

“The private sector is playing a major role in supporting the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, and in achieving an energy mix that combines renewable and clean energy sources to balance economic requirements and environmental goals," he said.

Emerge was established to explore and collaborate on opportunities in distributed solar generation, energy efficiency and street lighting in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Miral was created in 2011 and manages key venues on Yas Island, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Clymb Abu Dhabi.

The Emerge joint venture is "ideally equipped to support Miral’s ongoing environmental efforts, and in turn help to drive sustainable development in the regional leisure and tourism sector", said Mohamed Al Ramahi, chief executive of Masdar.

Updated: July 07, 2022, 1:09 PM