Dubai, backed by Chinese cash, is fast becoming Mena’s coal capital.

Saudi private developer Acwa Power and Chinese state firm Harbin Electric have begun building a 2.4GW coal-fired power plant at Hassyan on the coast south of Dubai city at an expected cost of $3.4bn. Its capacity equates to 33% of current Mena coal-fired capacity.

The plant is being built under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by US turbine generator manufacturer GE and Harbin. It will...