Abu Dhabi gets bids for world’s biggest solar plant

Abu Dhabi’s use of solar power will reduce CO2 emissions, which the plant will cut by 1.6 million metric tons a year. (AFP)
Updated 23 November 2019

Abu Dhabi gets bids for world’s biggest solar plant

  • The plant will be the world’s largest solar PV IPP project, providing 110,000 Emirati homes with electricity

LONDON: Bids have been received for what is set to become the world’s biggest solar power plant project covering 20 square kilometers of desert in Abu Dhabi.

It is being built by Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), a unit of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower).

The bids cover the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the 2 gigawatt project in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.

The plant will be the world’s largest solar PV IPP project, and provide up to 110,000 households across the UAE with electricity. 

“This year, EWEC has already delivered the world’s current largest single-site solar PV project, Noor Abu Dhabi, on time and on budget,” said EWEC CEO Othman Al-Ali. “We continue to deliver on our ambitious sustainable generation program, and this new plant is integral to our strategic plan to deliver on the clean energy mix outlined by the UAE Energy Strategy 2050.”

It will be almost double the size of EWEC’s approximately 1.2 GW ‘Noor Abu Dhabi’ solar plant, the largest operational single-project solar PV plant in the world.

Once operational, the plant will lift Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to around 3.2 GW, further reducing the emirate’s CO2 emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, EWEC said in a statement.

As part of the tendering process issued in July 2019, an optional bid for significant battery storage was allowed.


Mexico objects to labor enforcement provision in North American trade deal

Updated 15 December 2019

Mexico objects to labor enforcement provision in North American trade deal

  • Mexico produced more stringent rules on labor rights aimed at reducing Mexico’s low-wage advantage
  • US House of Representatives proposes the designation of up to five US experts who would monitor compliance with local labor reform in Mexico

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s deputy foreign minister, Jesus Seade, said on Saturday he sent a letter to the top US trade official expressing surprise and concern over a labor enforcement provision proposed by a US congressional committee in the new North American trade deal.
Top officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States on Tuesday signed a fresh overhaul of a quarter-century-old deal, aiming to improve enforcement of worker rights and hold down prices for biologic drugs by eliminating a patent provision.
How labor disputes are handled in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal was one of the last sticking points in the negotiations between the three countries to overhaul the agreement.
Intense negotiations over the past week among US Democrats, the administration of Republican US President Donald Trump, and Mexico produced more stringent rules on labor rights aimed at reducing Mexico’s low-wage advantage.
However, an annex for the implementation of the treaty that was presented on Friday in the US House of Representatives proposes the designation of up to five US experts who would monitor compliance with local labor reform in Mexico.
“This provision, the result of political decisions by Congress and the Administration in the United States, was not, for obvious reasons, consulted with Mexico,” Seade wrote in the letter. “And, of course, we disagree.”
USMCA was signed more than a year ago to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but Democrats controlling the US House of Representatives insisted on major changes to labor and environmental enforcement before voting.
The letter, released on Saturday, is dated Friday and addressed to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Seade said he would travel to Washington on Sunday to raise the issues directly with Lighthizer and lawmakers.
“Unlike the rest of the provisions that are clearly within the internal scope of the United States, the provision referred to does have effects with respect to our country and therefore, should have been consulted,” Seade wrote.
Both Canada and the US House Ways and Means Committee said the deal included a mechanism for verification of compliance with union rights at the factory level in Mexico by independent labor experts.
Some Mexican business groups bemoaned a lack of clarity and conflicting information on how the rules would actually be enforced under the deal, the first text of which became public only on Wednesday.