Abu Dhabi, UAE, 23 June 2016 - Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Europe early this morning after completing its historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The plane landed in Seville, Spain, just 60 kilometres west of the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant, a solar thermal plant backed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company and host partner of Solar Impulse.
Europe marks a symbolic next step in the journey of the solar powered plane. The European Union has been one of the pace setters in enshrining renewable energy targets into legislation, through the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive that set a binding goal of 20% final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. The EU has also set an aggressive target of meeting 27% of final energy consumption through renewable energy sources by 2030, thereby advancing the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Commenting on Solar Impulse’s arrival in Europe, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “Today, Solar Impulse has made landfall in Europe, a continent which – much like the UAE – saw the potential of clean energy early on. Europe’s strong regulatory environment and mature financing channels have been key reasons why Masdar’s clean energy portfolio of 1.7 gigawatts includes numerous European investments. I am proud that our innovative utility-scale projects – ranging from solar thermal to offshore wind to concentrated solar power – are helping to power Europe’s clean energy future, in fulfillment of Masdar’s mission to advance the renewable energy industry at home and abroad.”
Masdar is an investor in four utility-scale projects across the European continent, each of which has pushed the boundaries of clean energy and clean technology. The Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Seville, Spain, is the world’s first utility-scale solar power plant to combine a central tower receiver system and molten salt storage technology enabling electricity supply 24 hours a day. The Valle 1 and Valle 2 were the first projects in Cadiz, Spain, to feature parabolic trough solar technology combined with molten salt storage facilities.
In the United Kingdom, Masdar is an investor in the 630 MW London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, as well as the currently-under-construction 402 MW Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, which was the first
Once Dudgeon is operational, the Masdar-invested projects in Europe power will power over one million homes and will displace 2 million tonnes of CO2 ever year.
Hasan Al Redaini, the UAE representative traveling with Solar Impulse commented, “The last time I was in Europe was as part of the UAE delegation to COP21, which saw the world come together to adopt the historic Paris Climate Agreement. Solar Impulse’s arrival to Europe today demonstrates proof of concept that clean technology can help power the transition to sustainable development, in line with the vision of the UAE leadership. I look forward to bringing this message on how innovation and global partnerships can support global efforts to create a more sustainable world back to Abu Dhabi, and to do my part to support the transition to a knowledge-based economy in the emirate.”
Solar Impulse began its epic journey from Abu Dhabi in March 2015, with stops including Oman, India, China and Japan. It completed the first half of its circumnavigation of the globe late last summer, after breaking multiple records on a 7,212km trans-Pacific flight from Japan to Hawaii. Solar Impulse is expected to return to Abu Dhabi in July or August 2016.