The Dh3.2-billion Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant 01
The Dh3.2 billion Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant - the emirate has been making marked progress in bringing down tariffs at its solar power projects. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: Now that Abu Dhabi is able to command record-low rates for its solar projects, the emirate is better placed to pursue more clean energy initiatives, according to a top official with the Department of Energy.

“Abu Dhabi’s latest announced solar development - the 2 GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic Independent Power Producer project - secured one of the most competitive tariffs at Dh4.97 fils/KWh on a levelised cost basis,” said Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of DoE.

“This is nearly 44 per cent lower than the [earlier] world-record tariff achieved for the 1.2 GW Noor Abu Dhabi Solar PV project in 2017. Such a cheap cost for producing electricity from solar encourages us to invest more in solar and renewable technologies to diversify our power supply.

“We expect Abu Dhabi to continue to attract record low prices for solar PV projects.”

See More

On course for green

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy projects remain firmly on track despite the impact the pandemic has had on the wider economy this year. “We might have altered our plans over the past few months to implement short-term responses and ensure business continuity,” said Al Marar.

“But our mission and core objectives remain unchanged - as we gradually rebuild normal business, we recognise that accelerating transition to clean and renewable energy as well as investing in sustainable projects is imperative to a healthy recovery.

“There is no doubt that the transition to more sustainable energy sources will yield environmental, social and economic benefits because it will create more job opportunities and increase Abu Dhabi’s investment landscape aside from oil.”

Habit changing

Abu Dhabi has been able to bring about cost savings of Dh1.2 billion last year from better management of its utility services. This is where raising awareness among residents has helped… immensely.

Its ‘Demand Side Management’ strategy helps residents pinpoint which areas they can alter consumption patterns. “We are currently in the final stages of designing behaviour-nudging interventions to complement our awareness initiatives such as the ‘Use It Wisely’ campaign,” the official added.

“Other interventions to be rolled out soon include live coaching where consumers can interact with an expert in home retrofits to answer questions about electricity and water conservation in their homes, and seek out a virtual home assessment.”

Al Marar added that the DoE would also be rolling out a digital app for residents that will be tailored to providing energy and water saving tips.

“These initiatives have contributed to achieving 5,670 GWh of cumulative electricity savings and 214 Mm3 of cumulative water savings, which represent short-term costs savings of Dh1.21 billion, while avoiding the emission of approximately 2,924,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.”

We also recognize great potential for developing a green hydrogen market in Abu Dhabi – if coupled with carbon capture and energy storage, we can drive decarbonisation of several sectors

- Awaidha Murshed Al Marar of Department of Energy