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World's largest solar plant planned for Abu Dhabi, UAE

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The world's largest concentrated solar power plant is in the works for Abu Dhabi.

The world's largest concentrated solar power plant is in the works for Abu Dhabi.

Development organization Masdar has appointed French oil and gas firm Total and Spanish energy firm Abengoa Solar to partner to own, build and operate "Shams 1," the first such plant in the Middle East.

The plant will help the emirate meet its target of achieving 7 percent renewable energy power generation capacity by 2020.

It will be located in Madinat Zayed, roughly 75 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi.

The plant, which will be owned 60 percent by Masdar and 20 percent each by Total and Abengoa, is planned to extend over 1.6 square miles and offer 100 megawatts of capacity thanks to a solar field of 768 parabolic trough collectors.

Construction will begin in the third quarter of 2010 and is expected to last two years.

"[The project] represents the translation into reality of the vision the Abu Dhabi leadership had for renewable energy in the Emirate," said Masdar CEO Sultan Al-Jaber in a statement, adding that it will help open the door for renewable energy projects in the UAE and spur development of a knowledge-based economy.

The plant is expected to displace 193,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure