Views /Editorial

Clean energy

Published: 25 Aug 2022 - 08:35 am | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2022 - 08:36 am

Qatar, a leading producer of natural gas, has embarked on a plan to diversify its sources of energy with a focus on clean energy projects such as solar power and hydrogen energy. In particular, the country has been working to significantly increase the share of power generated from solar projects for its domestic and industrial sectors. 

Moving in that direction, QatarEnergy has awarded a contract to build two mega solar power projects in Mesaieed Industrial City and the Ras Laffan Industrial City. Mesaieed Industrial City will have a 417 MW plant while a 458 MW plant will be constructed in Ras Laffan Industrial City. The two plants, occupying a combined area of 10 square kilometers, are expected to come online by the end of 2024. The contract has been awarded to South Korea’s engineering and construction giant Samsung C&T.

Qatar plans to accelerate its shift towards renewable energy as its commitment to the Paris Agreement that pledges zero carbon emission by 2050. The country aims to increase its solar capacity to 5 GW by 2035.

The latest project, to cost approximately QR2.3bn, is the second utility-scale solar project in Qatar. Along with Al Kharsaa Solar PV Power Plant, which is currently under construction, the IC Solar project will increase Qatar’s renewable energy generation capacity to 1.675 GW by 2024. The project will utilise high-efficiency bifacial modules mounted on single-axis trackers as well as cleaning robots that will operate daily to minimise losses due to soiling by removing dust from the PV modules. 

The 800 MWp Al Kharsaah solar project --- covering 10 square kilometers, the equivalent of roughly 1,400 football fields --- will feature 2 million modules mounted on trackers and is set to become the world’s largest solar power plant.

The State of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 prioritises building a more sustainable future. Over the years, Qatar has implemented many programmes and projects to curb air pollutants, reduce CO2 emissions, and increase reliance on renewable energy. 

QatarEnergy has also recently signed separate agreements with Shell and South Korea’s Hydrogen Convergence Alliance (H2Korea) for cooperation in hydrogen energy both in Qatar and internationally. These efforts will focus on sectors such as industry and transportation, where hydrogen could offer a credible and material decarbonisation route.

The new solar projects not only take advantage of the region’s exceptional sunshine but will also help Qatar’s plans to cut carbon emissions.