Noor Abu Dhabi: the world’s largest solar power plant
This week it was announced that Abu Dhabi will become the home of the world’s largest solar power plant, highlighting the region’s commitment to sustainable building and utilising renewable energy sources, which are aligned with the UAE Energy Plan 2050.
Costing approximately $8700 million, the 1.17 gigawatt plant will provide enough power to approximately 200,000 homes. Responsible for the construction works will be a consortium encompassing Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), Marubeni Corporation and manufacturing company Jinkosolar.
The new plant will be funded 25 percent by equity and 75 percent by debt, with local and international banks supporting the funding of this debt. The project will also become one of the most cost effective energy projects in the world, with the consortium offering to provide electricity at a non-weighted cost of 2.94 cents per kWh, according to The National.
The plant is set to be named "Noor Abu Dhabi," which means "the light of Abu Dhabi" in Arabic.
Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, made the announcement and added that the project is part of the emirate's bid to diversify its economy and provide alternative sources of energy at competitive prices while following the best possible environmental and technological practices.
Expected to complete in 2019, Abdullah Musleh Al Ahbabi, Chairman of ADWEA said, “The tenders for the project was opened in April of last year. We received more than 90 proposals from the world’s largest companies in solar energy, which indicated the investors’ trust in the authority,” he added.
Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, the vice chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, also commented, "this project must be associated with the creation of advanced research centres to drive the economic and technological journey, placing the UAE on the world map of knowledge-based economies.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”