At the World Government Summit, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), highlighted the emirate’s efforts in addressing the challenges of climate change. DEWA is the Sustainable Energy Partner of the summit held under the theme, Shaping Future Governments.
“With the vision, guidance and unlimited support of the wise leadership of His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE is preparing to host the largest international climate event, which is the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai Expo City later this year,” said Al Tayer in his speech titled What We Offer to COP28. A large number of VIPs, and officials from the government and private sectors were present at the summit.
“This edition will build on the results and outcomes of the previous conferences by strengthening work with all parties and partners. The declaration by His Highness President Shaikh Mohamed that 2023 is the Year of Sustainability in the UAE with the slogan Today for Tomorrow underlines the great importance the wise leadership attaches to achieving a balance between development and environmental sustainability. These foundations were laid by the Founding Father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace. It is the cornerstone for all social, economic and environmental development plans, making the UAE among the largest countries in the world to invest in clean and renewable energy projects.”
Al Tayer explained that the UAE was the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to launch a strategic initiative to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. DEWA is pioneering in sustainability, innovation and future-shaping in all its projects and initiatives to achieve the goals of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100 per cent clean energy by 2050, with a focus on innovation, technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital transformation and the circular economy as key enablers for achieving sustainability. DEWA’s strategy is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. DEWA has identified three main levels according to their priority for it.
“As part of our endeavours to support global efforts to combat climate change, the Cabinet approved the UAE joining the Global Alliance for Green Economy, led by the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO),” he said. “This alliance aims to launch programmes, projects and initiatives boosting the green economy, creating a model for sustainable financing and establishing partnerships for developing countries to achieve an effective transition to a green economy.
“Innovation is the cornerstone in our work ecosystem. We have established a Research and Development Centre and an Innovation Centre to develop effective solutions to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions. We have launched a number of projects that we are implementing at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model with investments totaling Dh50 billion. When completed, the solar park will reduce over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Its production capacity of clean energy has reached 2,027 megawatts (MW), increasing the production capacity of clean energy in Dubai to about 14 per cent of the total production capacity of electrical energy. The solar park uses the latest technologies of double-sided photovoltaic solar panels, with a single-axis solar tracking system, and clean them using robots, which contributed to raising the efficiency of solar energy from 11 per cent previously to about 27 per cent today,” added Al Tayer.
Pioneering clean energy projects
Al Tayer said that solar energy is climate-dependent and unavailable at night. There is an urgent need to find ways for solar energy storage, thus allowing energy availability around the clock. This is why, DEWA has launched a number of energy storage initiatives and projects. The fourth phase of the solar park uses the concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. It will have a capacity of 100MW from the world’s tallest solar power tower at over 260 metres using molten salt technology, and 600MW from a parabolic basin complex. The project will have the largest thermal storage capacity in the world of 15 hours. DEWA is also implementing a 250MW pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant in Hatta, which is the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf. It will use the stored water in Hatta Dam and will have a production capacity of 250MW and a storage capacity of 1,500 megawatt-hours.
In light of the importance of green hydrogen in the transition to net zero, DEWA has implemented the Green Hydrogen project in the solar park. It is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa to produce green hydrogen using solar energy. It stores the hydrogen and then converts it back into electrical energy in addition to other uses in the air, land and sea transport as well as in industry. DEWA is also preparing a road map for a Green Hydrogen Strategy that will be implemented in phases. It has also implemented a pilot project in the solar park to store energy using lithium-ion and sodium-sulphur batteries.
“We established an energy services company to enhance energy efficiency in Dubai. The company has retrofitted nearly 8,000 existing buildings in Dubai. We are also encouraging our customers through the Shams Dubai initiative to install photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of their buildings and facilities to meet part of their energy needs. By the end of 2022, the total installed capacity of the initiative reached 500MW. DEWA has also participated in establishing the largest district cooling company in the world. District cooling uses 40 per cent less energy.
“To promote green mobility, we launched the Green Charger initiative to establish a state-of-the-art infrastructure for electric vehicles that currently has over 350 charging stations using the latest smart and innovative technologies to provide a seamless experience for users. Implementing the Dubai Demand Side Management Strategy contributed to reducing electricity consumption in Dubai by 17 per cent per capita and water consumption by 21 per cent per capita compared to 2010. This contributed to avoiding over 14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in between 2011 and 2021.
“To enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness of electricity and water networks, we launched DEWA SAT-1 nanosatellite as part of DEWA’s space programme (Space-D). This year we will launch DEWA SAT-2 nanosatellite. DEWA is the first utility in the world to use nano satellites in its operations. We also make use of big data through sensors in solar power stations that gather real-time data and analyse it in conjunction with data from DEWA’s satellites,” added Al Tayer.
“The words of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ‘The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it’ inspired us to embed them into the three main phases of DEWA’s Innovation and Future Shaping Framework to become Imagine, Design and Implement,” he said. “This makes DEWA the first government entity to include the words of His Highness in its Innovation and Future Shaping Framework.
“As part of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA, we are disrupting the entire business of public utilities and contributing to building a new digital future for Dubai. Digital DEWA is based on four pillars: launching advanced solar power technologies; deploying a renewable energy grid with innovative energy storage technologies; expanding integrated AI solutions; and providing digital services that serve smart sustainable cities while ensuring their security and continuity in the cyber digital space. Given the importance of data as a driver for expansion and sustainable economic diversification, we have launched the world’s largest carbon-neutral green data centre that will use 100 per cent renewable energy as confirmed by Guinness World Records.
“The data centre is being implemented by Moro Hub (Data Hub Integrated Solutions LLC), a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. We have more than 150 local and international partners and customers in sustainability and smart adoption of customer services, which has reached 99 per cent, as well as developing the latest disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. DEWA has maintained its top position among global utilities in the Digital Quotient Report 2022, which was prepared by a prestigious international consultant,” said Al Tayer.
As part of the digital transformation, DEWA launched its virtual employee, Rammas, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) as part of our strategy to employ AI in all our operations and services. Rammas answered more than 6.8 million customer enquiries since its launch in the first quarter of 2017 until the end of December 2022. Rammas encourages the use of smart channels, and reduces the number of visits to DEWA’s Customer Happiness Centres. DEWA scored 98 per cent in the Dubai Government’s Instant Happiness Index by Dubai Digital Authority.
Al Tayer noted that DEWA has also launched the Smart Grid Strategy with investment totalling Dh7 billion until 2035, to provide advanced features, including state-of-the-art features to improve operations, management of assets and smart meters, thus improving the experience of stakeholders and enhancing their happiness. DEWA has managed to reduce line losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks to 2.2 per cent, water network losses to 4.5 per cent and achieved a new world record in electricity customer minutes lost (CML) per year at 1.19 minutes per customer. In production plants, DEWA has achieved an optimal fuel utilisation of 90 per cent.
“With the increasing challenges associated with climate change, there is a need for serious global cooperation to combat it and enhance the efforts to protect the environment and natural resources and continue sustainable economic growth,” Al Tayer said. “This will achieve the vision of the wise leadership in advancing the global sustainability agenda and stimulate sustainable development. We promise our wise leadership to do our best to support the initiatives and activities of the Year of Sustainability to achieve the desired goals and to make COP28 a key milestone in the journey to address the climate change challenges, for a brighter and more sustainable future for us and our generations to come.”
At the conclusion of Al Tayer’s speech, Rammas, DEWA’s virtual employee, announced that DEWA is working to enrich its services with ChatGPT technology supported by Microsoft. This will make DEWA the first utility globally and the first UAE government entity to use this new technology. This is part of DEWA’s continuous efforts to promote its leadership locally and globally.
To learn more about DEWA’s efforts, visit Dewa.gov.ae