Qatar inaugurates its first solar power plant with TotalEnergies, its “first international partner”



It is one of the ” bigger ” Qatar solar farms with more than 1.8 million solar panels covering 10 km2. The plant located in Al Kharsaah, west of Doha, has just been inaugurated on Tuesday 18 October.

With a capacity of 800 megawatts, the project launched in 2016 and operational since June aims to cover 10% of the country’s electricity consumption. In addition to TotalEnergies (19.6%), the Japanese company Marubeni (20.4%) is a partner in the Al Kharsaah power station. It is already planned to “extend” it by 2035, according to the Minister of Energy and President of Qatar Energy, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.

According to the organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which promise a carbon-neutral football World Cup, the plant will supply the stadiums with electricity. During a press conference, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi however indicated that he had no information on this point.

Qatar, which is aiming for a capacity of 5 gigawatts of solar energy by 2035, announced at the end of August two other major photovoltaic power plant projects that should allow it to more than double its production within two years. These new plants, in Mesaieed Industrial City (South) and Ras Laffan Industrial City (North), will bring the emirate’s photovoltaic production to 1.675 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2024, according to the national company Qatar Energy.

The emirate, however, lags behind its Gulf neighbours. Saudi Arabia this year announced its intention to exceed the 5 GW threshold by 2030, and solar power plants have existed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for almost a decade.

Solar and wind attracted 15 times more investment than nuclear in 2021

TotalEnergies multiplies projects in Qatar

This inauguration comes just a few weeks after an announcement of a partnership between the gas and oil giant and Qatar. At the end of September, the emirate announced the signing of a major contract worth 1.5 billion dollars with TotalEnergies for the development of a natural gas field, called North Field South.

TotalEnergies chosen by Qatar to exploit a new block on the largest gas field in the world

Already in June, the French group had signed an agreement worth more than 2 billion dollars with Doha for the development of the North Field East project. Both are expansion projects for the offshore North Field, the world’s largest natural gas field that Qatar shares with Iran.

“The fact that TotalEnergies has recently become Qatar’s first international partner is a strong sign,” CEO Patrick Pouyanné commented on Tuesday, October 18, interviewed by AFP. And to add: “It’s the result of a lot of work over several years, but I think it’s a good thing at a time when the question of Europe’s security of supply arises for all of us. »

“We have the same mentality: to be at the cutting edge of technology, to try to go to remote areas of exploration and also to renewable energies”, Al-Kaabi explained. “I think our partnership will continue to consolidate, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have other very important partners and, soon, you will see us signing with others”, slipped the minister, while the country has yet to reveal the names of other foreign companies involved in the North Field.



Petition against a TotalEnergies gas project in South Africa

The Bloom association, for the protection of the oceans, and the South African NGO The Green Connection launched, on Monday in Paris, an international petition against a major gas project by TotalEnergies. According to them, it is expected in an area of ​​dangerous currents off South Africa, and would threaten an extremely rich marine fauna as well as local artisanal fishing activity.

TotalEnergies filed, on September 5, a “application for a production license to exploit two large gas fields, which can contain up to 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent”, in the Brulpadda exploration area, 175 km from the coast.

For NGOs, the business is risky. These are “very deep” drillings, more than 1,000 meters below the surface, in an area of ​​strong currents: they [les exploitants] know that these are complicated waters with a risk of an oil spill”. And to add: “Total is the first to go this deep, and if they get this permit, it will be a huge signal [positif] for all industry [de l’extraction des hydrocarbures] » on the possibility of launching drilling in still virgin waters, alert Swann Bommier, from Bloom.

The South African authorities, who rely on gas to get out of their dependence on coal, the most polluting fossil fuel of all, must decide whether to obtain this license after a public inquiry scheduled until January 20. , according to the associations.

Pressure from environmental NGOs is increasing against various TotalEnergies projects around the world. Thus, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) itself declared in 2021 for the immediate cessation of all new investments in fossil fuels

in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, another megaproject of the French group, located in Uganda and Tanzania, has been attacked by NGOs since 2019 before the French courts.

Environmental law in France: culpable inertia

(With AFP)