Suhail Al Mazroui, the Minister of Energy. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s investments in green energy will reach $35 billion (Dh128.5 billion) by 2021 as the country aims to reduce its reliance on natural gas for power generation, according to Suhail Al Mazroui, the Minister of Energy.

Some of the $35 billion investments have already been put in nuclear energy, solar energy, and other forms of green energy, while the remaining sum will be invested over the next five to six years.

Speaking at the Power-Gen Middle East conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, the minister said that the UAE currently generates 100 per cent of its energy from natural gas, and aims to reduce the figure to 70 per cent by 2021.

“We aim to reduce our reliance on natural gas as it is mostly imported from other countries.

We are trying on all fronts [to do so]; we are developing some new fields in Adnoc (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) that will supply more gas, we are also expanding our options in terms of importing gas, expanding LNG, and Dolphin has upgraded their facility to be able to receive more gas if it’s available. The UAE is a gas market and we are not going will not depend on one source only,” Al Mazroui said.

He added that the remaining 30 per cent of energy generation will come from nuclear energy, which will contribute 20-25 per cent (5,400 megawatts) by 2020, and solar energy.

Al Mazroui also said that energy demand in GCC countries went up nine per cent in 2014, which was a “worrying growth rate”.

Irresponsible use of energy

“If we look at the UAE over the past 10 years, the [growth rate] was six per cent, but it varies; some years are higher [than others]. In 2014, the rate was nine per cent,” he said.

Asked about the recent cuts to fuel subsidies, Al Mazroui said that the reliance of GCC residents on such subsidies promotes irresponsible use of energy, adding that the biggest challenge now was to change individuals’ patterns in using energy.

As for oil, the minister confirmed to reporters on the sidelines of the conference that the UAE was still on track to raise oil production to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2017 despite falling oil prices, which now stand below $50 a barrel.

Power-Gen Middle East, now in its 13th annual edition, is being held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centren (Adnec), and will run until October 6.