Masdar has announced the development of a 15-megawatt solar power project in Nouakchott, the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The project will provide for the annual demand growth in the country, estimated to be at a rate of 12 per cent in 2012. It will also supply much needed power to Mauritania, which currently faces severe energy shortages.
The country has a low electrification rate of 60 per cent and an an installed grid capacity of just 144 megawatts, supplied mostly by diesel generators. However, the country also has significant untapped renewable energy potential in the form of both solar and wind. In fact, the country’s wind energy potential is almost four times its annual energy demand.
“Mauritania has some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, making it an ideal place for solar power installations,” said Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Mines H.E. Taleb Ould Abdivall. “We are pleased to be working with such esteemed partners on this important project and remain committed to harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources. Masdar has gained tremendous experience in the renewable energy sector through its projects worldwide and we look forward to future opportunities for cooperation.”
The project is being built next to the university in Nouakchott, currently under construction, and will serve as a learning laboratory for solar energy development in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
Along with renewable energy projects in Tonga and Afghanistan, the Mauritania project is part of Masdar’s commitment to the United Nations’ Year of Sustainable Energy for All – a global initiative announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Once construction on the project is complete, the Nouakchott solar power plant will be owned and operated by Société Mauritanienne de l’électricité (SOMELEC), the government-owned electric utility in Mauritania.