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Are you looking for some good news in the middle of the health crisis of a lifetime for each of the 8 billion humans on the planet? Here comes the sun!
Photovoltaics solar energy has been on a mind-blowing cost-reduction trend in the last decades. The cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) modules, for instance, has been divided by 10 in 10 years, and the lowest electricity prices have just been broken again by a solar PV plant: 1.35 USD/kWh. This price is a bid for the Al Dhafra PV park in Abu Dhabi and is 25 times cheaper than the price a German household pays for electricity!
Large solar projects today are typically built in response to tenders issued by utilities eager to introduce more clean energy in their portfolio. The Middle-East has been particularly aggressive in this regard. For instance, the Al Dhafra solar project will have the capacity to provide 2GW of clean sunlight electricity, the equivalent of 2 nuclear reactors, or 3.5 million tons of CO2 emissions per year!
Not surprisingly for the UAE, when completed in 2022, this will be the largest single-site PV project in the world, dethroning the Noor Abu Dhabi project (1.2GW), and competing with the largest single-site solar park project under construction in Dubai (Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum -MBR- with a planned capacity of 5GW at completion in 2030). It is delightful to see that the rivalry between the 2 powerful Emirates is benefiting clean energy deployment!
That is just one example of the global advancements of clean energy in the world today. On the Old Continent as well, fossil fuels are losing ground. The UK reported this week that it has broken a 138-year-old record for coal-free electricity generation. The UK has not been that "coal-free" since… in fact since it started using coal for electricity generation, during the Industrial Revolution in 1882. A new era just opened!
Solar photovoltaics is just one way to produce clean energy; and clean energy is just one lever humanity has to build a sustainable future. Waste management, fossil-fuel-free transportation, sustainable agriculture, urban planning and architecture can play a role; and the social aspect of a balanced, sustainable global development must not be under-estimated: what is corporate social responsibility in this matter? What are the start-ups shaping the future? Eedama addresses all these issues in their consulting practices, curriculum and training, that can be adapted to all audiences, from school kids to NGOs and corporate decision makers. When the World comes out of lock down, I cannot encourage you enough to come, see with your own eyes, understand and act by following one of Eedama's field trips in the region.
Author: Frederic Dross
Co-Founder & Solar Consultant
Sustainability Instructor at Eedama.