Posted Dec 28 2022 at 15:34Updated Dec 28. 2022 at 15:41
The German gas giant Uniper, and Masdar, the renewables specialist in the Middle East based in Abu Dhabi are preparing the construction of a green hydrogen plant in the United Arab Emirates. Mohammad Abdelqader El Ramahi, one of the executives of Masdar, formalized this partnership on Wednesday, which provides for an installation powered by 1.3 gigawatts of solar energy, and should come into operation in 2026.
It is the meeting of two different interests. Berlin has just proceeded to rescue Uniper for 33 billion euros, exposed by the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the energy market. In exchange for this nationalization (intended to be temporary), the German government expects Uniper to strengthen its short-term environmental objectives. “Masdar, announced its intention to ally itself with European majors last month”, according to an executive of the company, “we quickly identified an opportunity”.
Created in 2006 at the initiative of Mudabala, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, the region’s largest clean energy producer is the spearhead of the Emirates’ strategy for their energy transition – they have made the commitment achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
In charge of the organization of the next COP28, the Arab power multiplies announcements in the environmental field, and Masdar accelerates its development. Operating in some forty countries, for projects with a total value of more than 18 billion euros, it currently produces 20 gigawatts of green electricity. The ambition is to increase this figure to 100 gigagwatts before 2030. Masdar does not communicate on its financial results but according to the main databases on Emirati companies, its annual turnover is estimated at 160 million euros , mainly secured by long-term contracts, and employs nearly 650 people worldwide.
To finance its growth, Mudabala has just concluded an agreement with TAQA and ADNOC, two other leading companies in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, operating in the water, oil and gas sectors. It concerns their respective stakes in Masdar – the sovereign wealth fund still holds 33%.
Engaged in plans to diversify their economies, the petromonarchies see their environmental objectives regularly questioned, as they remain dependent on hydrocarbons, their main source of income. The export of petroleum products still represents 25% of the emirates’ income.
Abu Dhabi also competes with Saudi Arabia for regional leadership in all sectors with high added value. The latter announces a renewable production capacity of 27.3 gigwatts by the end of 2023. The construction of one of the largest solar power plants in the world has just started in Mecca, which will be operational in two years.
Both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi want to reach 50% renewables in their energy mix by 2030, compared to less than 1% currently.