Dr Sultan Al Jaber
Globally, we see a bright future for the renewable energy sector as at least $3 trillion will be invested in renewable energy over the next 10 years, the minister said. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE is keen to seize the economic opportunities presented by the energy transition, according to Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Dr. Al Jaber made the remarks during the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) and awards ceremony of the Zayed Sustainability Prize at Expo 2020 Dubai, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The minister noted the world has been transformed for the better over the last 50 years but this has posed fundamental questions of how to keep moving forward, while turning back the clock on emissions and how to enhance global prosperity.

“When we began investing in the renewables space more than 15 years ago, our leadership had a theory of the future that has been proven right over time. Today, the UAE is home to the largest and lowest cost solar plants in the world.”

Dr. Al Jaber added, “Globally, we see a bright future for the renewable energy sector as at least $3 trillion will be invested in renewable energy over the next 10 years. Through Masdar, we have invested in solar and wind energy projects in 40 countries around the world. Last month, under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, three of the largest energy companies in the UAE entered into a strategic partnership to consolidate Masdar’s position and turn it into a global leader in the field of clean energy.

“Thanks to this partnership, Masdar doubled its total renewable energy capacity, and our ambition is to build on these solid foundations and reach 100 gigawatts, and then double it to 200 gigawatts. This represents a massive opportunity, and the UAE and Masdar extend an open invitation to all our partners, public and private, to join us on this ambitious journey. This growth will contribute to creating job opportunities, new sectors and skills, and opening a new door of hope for present and future generations.”

As the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to announce a Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, the UAE is adopting a low carbon pathway to a high growth destination and is keen to accelerate progress on this journey as hosts of COP28, according to Dr. Al Jaber.

Expanding on COP28, which is set to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2023, Dr. Al Jaber took the opportunity to thank President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and the Asia Pacific Group for their support in confirming the UAE as hosts. He went on to provide an insight into the UAE’s approach.

“The UAE is looking forward to playing its role as host of COP28 and we take on this role with humility and a sense of great pride and responsibility. We will work closely with the COP presidencies of the UK and Egypt and build on their momentum. We will take a practical approach, that moves from pledges to action, focused on commercially viable climate solutions.

“We will give an equal voice to the developing world, align the public and the private sector, academics and engineers, civil society and industry. And that means all industry, including the hydrocarbon industry. Because, if there is one thing that the history of every energy transition tells us, it is that they take time. You cannot simply flip a switch,” stressed Dr. Al Jaber.

While the world still needs oil and gas, the UAE is committed to making the current energy system work more efficiently with much less carbon, according to the minister. He highlighted that ADNOC produces one of the least carbon intensive hydrocarbons in the world and, as of 17 days ago, 100 per cent of ADNOC’s grid power now comes from zero carbon energy sources.

Dr. Al Jaber added that this is a first for the oil and gas industry and it is reducing emissions at scale, shaping the market for clean energy and making a direct contribution to the UAE’s net zero push, not tomorrow, but today.