Dubai ruler launches World Happiness Council

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Dubai on Monday completed a solar plant big enough to power 50,000 homes as part of a plan to generate three-quarters of its energy from renewables by 2050.

The 1.2 billion dirham ($327 million) solar plant in the Dubai desert, led by developer ACWA Power International of Saudi Arabia, was scheduled to be completed in April, said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chief executive officer of the emirate's utility.

The project is the "largest and first solar power project of its kind in the region", he said.

"The UAE's strategies and investments are clear evidences that it is today leading global efforts in clean and renewable energy".

The UAE has launched world-class projects to diversify energy resources with a focus on solar energy due to the convenient location of the UAE on the Sunbelt.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, formed the World Happiness Council on Sunday to coincide with International Happiness Day on March 20 and send a positive message from the United Arab Emirates to the world. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park reflects our commitment to build a better, brighter, and more sustainable future for generations to come. It is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the IPP model, with a planned capacity of 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030, with a total investment of AED50 billion. Al Tayer said Dubai Electricity and Water Authority will buy power from the plant for 5.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, which was the lowest cost globally for solar power at the time the project was awarded in January 2015.

DEWA said in December the second phase of the project had set a world record for cheap solar energy, at 5.6 USA cents (5.2 euro cents) per kilowatt hour. DEWA set another world record with the lowest recorded bid being $US 2.99 cents per kW/h for the 800MW third phase of the solar park.

The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to develop an energy mix that combines renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources to balance economic requirements and environmental goals.

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