The UAE has already marked out the strategy pillars for its clean energy push. And with the investments to back those plans. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Orchestrating a clean energy boom takes extreme focus.

That is the journey the UAE is creating, with the launch of its Hydrogen Strategy and its updated UAE Energy Strategy 2050 marking a leap towards a cleaner future. Unsurprisingly, the country now ranks second in the Energy Transition pillar in this year’s Green Future Index, climbing eight positions year-on-year.

This progress is now set to include the UAE’s accelerated evolution into both a producer and supplier of low-carbon hydrogen – at a far faster rate than the vast majority of other countries. By 2031, the UAE aims to produce 1.4 million tons of hydrogen annually. This could rise ten-fold to 15 million by 2050, which is an astonishing forecast for what is still a relatively young - and largely - untested market.

The UAE’s bold targets bode well for countries’ rising appetite and widespread need – in part spurred by the Russia-Ukraine conflict – to import low-carbon hydrogen. This includes the EU’s plans to import 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen within seven years, according to Europa.

Rapid domino effect

The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 will support the target of achieving a grid emission factor of 0.27 kg CO2/kWh by 2030 – lower than the global average – to achieve Net Zero in the increasingly industrialized country’s energy and water sectors by 2050. The UAE will also invest up to $55 billion by 2030 to preserve both energy and economic growth and security. Plus, the strategy’s aim to improve individual and institutional energy consumption efficiency rates will contribute to achieving financial savings of $28 billion and create 50,000 new green jobs by 2030 – uplifting the workforce in a nation of just 10 million people.

The new strategies – for hydrogen and energy overall – reinforce the country’s ‘We the UAE 2031’ Vision, the Circular Economy Policy 2031, the National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031, and the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative. The timing is especially apt; the UAE’s current Year of Sustainability precedes it hosting COP28 in Dubai this November.

Accelerating green transformation

Keeping pace with market trends, our goal at Uniper is to have 5-10 per cent of our portfolio comprised of green gases by 2030. We are committed to a gradual decarbonization of our gas business, incorporating green gases such as hydrogen. We’re also repurposing current gas storage facilities for hydrogen storage. Our green transformation will see investing over 8 billion euros through 2030.

We are involved in large-scale hydrogen projects in the Middle East, with a view to exporting hydrogen to Europe and Asian markets. As such, we are working with Masdar, one of the region’s biggest renewable energy firms, to build a plant that will run on 1.3GW of solar power – producing hydrogen in a short three years.

Our new agreement with Greenko ZeroC in India – another key market to the UAE – includes a first-of-its-kind pricing, supply, and tenure structure for 250,000 tons of green ammonia. This is key to diversifying the supply of green hydrogen. The initial stage utilizes a Round the Clock (RTC) renewable electricity-powered electrolyser, driven by 2.5GW of Indian renewable assets, achieving an impressive annual plant load factor exceeding 85 per cent. Again, very attractive reliability for future investors.

Energy security, Net Zero, and globalization are intertwined. The UAE’s adept partnerships drive regional low carbon hydrogen market growth, advancing energy and climate goals. We’re proud to be part of this transformative journey…