United Arab Emirates has officially opened one of the world's largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, reports UAE Interact. The 100 megawatt grid-connected Shams 1 solar plant is located in the western region of Abu Dhabi and will generate enough clean energy to power approximately 20,000 homes.
Shams 1 produces steam and drives a turbine to generate its electricity, UAE Interact said. The project uses a booster heater to heat steam as it enters the turbine, which dramatically boosts the cycle's efficiency. The plant also features a dry-cooling system that reduces water consumption.
The new $600 million CSP plant was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture of Masdar, Total and Abengoa Solar. The plant covers an area of about one square mile.
"Shams 1 is a strategic investment in our country's economic, social and environmental prosperity," UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said. "The domestic production of renewable energy extends the life of our country's valuable hydrocarbon resources and supports the growth of a promising new industry."
The Middle East and North Africa are estimated to have almost half of the world's renewable energy potential, the article stated.
The new plant is expected to reduce the UAE's carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 175,000 metric tons per year, equal to taking 15,000 cars off the road.