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Video: Largest ground-mounted private solar plant in UAE opened by Nestlé in Dubai

Video: Largest ground-mounted private solar plant in UAE opened by Nestlé in Dubai

New plant at Nestlé Middle East’s Al Maha factory contains about 28,000 solar panels – enough to take about 1,500 cars off roads

What is claimed to be the largest ground-mounted private solar plant in the UAE has opened in Dubai.

Nestlé Middle East opened the plant at its Al Maha factory in Dubai, in a ceremony attended by officials including Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

The solar plant contains about 28,000 photovoltaic panels, which will offset about six million kilogrammes of CO2 emissions per year – the equivalent of taking 1,500 cars off roads.

The solar plant is part of Dewa’s so-called “Shams” initiative, meant to encourage building owners to install solar panels and connect them to the local power grid.

The opening of the solar plant comes as the UAE is hoping at least 50 per cent of its energy will come from sustainable sources by 2050.

As world leaders gather in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Climate and Environment Minister Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said the UAE’s goal was for the nation to generate 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. The target is significantly higher than the UAE’s target of 24 per cent renewable energy by 2021.

READ: UAE sets 50% clean energy target by 2050

The announcement came on the sidelines of the UN’s Climate Action Summit, where among the highlights was a rousing speech by climate activist Greta Thunberg calling on world leaders to not delay in taking steps to save the planet.

The announcement also came as more people in the Middle East and North Africa believe climate change will have a dramatic impact on people’s lives compared to Western countries such as the United States, according to a new poll.

A new YouGov survey of 30,000 people in 28 countries and regions uncovers attitudes towards climate change across the world. Among the findings were that people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region generally believe that climate change will have a big impact on their lives at a higher rate than people in Western nations including the United States, Great Britain and even Germany.

READ: More in Middle East think climate change will impact their lives than US, UK

The majority of respondents in the Middle East indicated that climate change would have a great deal of impact on their lives, including more than half of respondents in Egypt (58 per cent) and the UAE (56 per cent). Conversely, only about one in six respondents in Germany (16 per cent) and Great Britain (17 per cent) apparently believe it will. The rate in the United States was just 24 per cent – and, perhaps surprisingly, was its absolute lowest in the Nordic countries, with Finland (14 per cent), Norway (12 per cent), Sweden (11 per cent) and Denmark (10 per cent) all at the very bottom.

A number of sustainable energy projects are already in the works in the UAE and wider GCC region. For example, the first utility-scale wind farm in the GCC has recently begun producing power. The 50-megawatt (MW) Dhofar wind farm in Oman produced its first kilowatt-hour of electricity in August. While only one of the wind farm’s 13 turbines is operational, the entire complex should be up and running by the end of 2019. The wind farm is expected to be able to generate power for about 16,000 homes once it is fully operational – helping offset an estimated 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

READ: The appetite for wind energy in the GCC

Other wind power projects are also in development across the region. In Saudi Arabia, for example, it has been announced that Abu Dhabi’s Masdar (which also backed the Dhofar wind farm) has won the tender for the planned 400MW Dumat Al Jandal wind project. In Dubai, firms are reportedly being sought to conduct a feasibility study for a wind power project in Hatta.

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