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Bahrain signs deal with Masdar to develop wind energy

An offshore wind farm in the UK. The projects planned by Masdar and Bapco could be the first such facilities in the Middle East Alamy via Reuters
An offshore wind farm in the UK. The projects planned by Masdar and Bapco could be the first such facilities in the Middle East
  • UAE major partners with Bapco
  • Plan for offshore wind farms
  • Bahrain wants 30% emissions cut

UAE clean energy company Masdar has formed a partnership with Bahrain’s Bapco Energies to explore the development of wind energy projects in Bahrain. 

The two companies will develop up to two gigawatts (GW) in near-shore and offshore wind farms, Masdar said.

The collaboration will help Bahrain accelerate the decarbonisation of its critical industrial sectors. Energy, manufacturing, waste and agricultural forestry are among the island kingdom’s most polluting sectors.

Mark Thomas, Bapco Energies chief executive, described the partnership as a step towards realising the goals outlined in Bahrain’s national energy strategy.

The country has set a target of generating 5 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The ratio should rise to 20 percent by 2035.

The Gulf’s smallest oil producer also aims to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2035 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

According to research publisher and open science platform Frontiers, Bahrain has a large number of renewable energy projects but the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix is still small. 

About 20 megawatts (MW) of solar PV were installed in the country last year, and only 1.5 MW of wind energy was produced.

With a surface area of less than 800 square kilometres, Bahrain has little land available to develop onshore wind projects, although their costs are generally lower than those of offshore installations.

The International Energy Agency expects the number of offshore wind facilities to increase rapidly as turbines deployed at sea take advantage of stronger winds.

The wind farms being planned by Masdar and Bapco could become the first offshore wind facilities in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is said to be working on a delayed 500 MW project with UAE-based renewables investor Plambeck Emirates.

Studies forecast that Bahrain’s territorial waters have the potential to supply nearly three terawatt hours a year of wind energy, which represents almost 10 percent of the kingdom’s annual electricity consumption.

Strategic entry

The agreement with Bapco Energies marks Masdar’s strategic entry into a new market.

The company – owned by state oil giant Adnoc, sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) – is working on clean energy projects in about 40 countries and aims to reach 100 GW renewables capacity globally by 2030.

Its electricity generation capacity is more than 20 GW – from solar, wind, waste-to-energy, geothermal and energy storage projects.

Masdar has been developing various wind projects around the world, including the 400 MW Dumat Al Jandal wind farm in Saudi Arabia, the 630 MW London Array offshore wind project in the UK and a 1 GW wind and battery storage farm in Kazakhstan.

In the UAE, its 100 MW pilot programme captures low-speed winds to produce energy.

In March, Masdar signed a deal to acquire a 50 percent stake in Terra-Gen Power Holdings II, one of the US’s largest independent renewable energy power producers.

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