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UAE powers towards a sustainable future

The drive to diversify energy sources recognises the importance of renewable energy in balancing development and the environment

Gulf News

Concerted global efforts are needed to protect Planet Earth from the negative impacts of global warming to ensure a sustainable future. The UAE effectively contributes to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The UAE has been at the forefront in implementing green strategies that support sustainability, following the visionary leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan; His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Although the UAE has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the leadership attaches great importance to diversifying energy sources, by increasing the share of renewable and clean energy. This supports the vision that recognises the importance of renewable energy in balancing development and the environment. The UAE has made remarkable achievements based on federal and local strategies and initiatives, including the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which sets a 50 per cent target for clean energy in the total energy mix by 2050, among others.

Dubai has a comprehensive vision for the future of sustainability, which it considers essential to the success of its transition towards a green economy. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to provide 75 per cent of the emirate’s total power output from clean energy sources by 2050, establish a sustainable energy model that supports economic growth, without damaging the environment and its resources, and to make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) supports this by developing leading clean and renewable energy projects. These include the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer model. It will produce 5,000 MW by 2030, with a total investment of Dh50 billion. When completed, it will reduce over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The 13MW photovoltaic first phase became operational in 2013. The 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park was launched in March 2017. The 800MW photovoltaic third phase will be operational by 2020 in cooperation with the Masdar-led consortium, and Electricite de France.

We have also launched the 700MW Dh14.2 billion fourth phase of the solar park. This is the largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power project in the world. We have received the lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity of 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour. In a pioneering step to diversify energy sources, Dewa is working on the implementation of a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station, making use of the water stored in Hatta Dam. The 250MW project is the first of its kind in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

In addition to our solar energy projects, we are working to engage citizens and residents in the production of clean energy through Shams Dubai. The initiative encourages building owners to install solar panels to produce electricity. Up till the end of December 2017, Dewa connected 557 buildings in Dubai, with a total capacity of 24.3MW. We are working to double the number in the future, reaching all Dubai buildings by 2030. In addition to Shams Dubai, Dewa has also launched the Smart Applications via Smart Meters and Grids initiative and the Green Charger initiative to establish the infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles to encourage their use. So far, Dewa has installed 100 charging stations across the emirate, and will double it this year.

Through our strategies, initiatives and joint projects with the private sector, we promote the sustainable development of the UAE, and aim for sustainability to be a lifestyle, to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come. I commend the efforts of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, for supporting the vision of our wise leadership, and enhancing joint efforts to make the UAE rank first in all fields. As His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum had once observed, “Working as a team, everybody takes part in building the UAE”.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer is managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

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