His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (right), Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (far left), Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, on the sidelines of the signing ceremony in the presence of senior officials Image Credit: X/@DXBMediaOffice

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday witnessed the signing of an agreement between Expo City Dubai and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to fully power Expo City with renewable energy, marking a significant milestone in its journey towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, also attended the signing ceremony.

Also present at the ceremony were Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of Expo City Dubai Authority; Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of International Cooperation and CEO of Expo City Dubai Authority; Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change, and COP28 UAE President-Designate; and Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.

Expanding on Expo City’s current on-site renewable energy capacity, DEWA will now permanently provide solar energy to the entire site through International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs) sourced from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. This initiative aligns with the central mission of COP28.

Initially supplying over 100,000 megawatt-hours of power, estimated based on the total consumption for 2023, additional I-RECs will be incorporated in the future to cater to the growing energy needs of the community. Furthermore, Expo City has plans to independently enhance its on-site capacity in the upcoming years.

The shift in energy source will offer positive impacts for Expo City’s tenants and eventual residents, as well as the growing number of events held on site. This is particularly significant as Expo City prepares to host the COP28 summit, supporting the delivery of a carbon neutral event and complementing the conference’s clear focus on the global transition to clean energy.

Reem Al Hashimy said: “As the global population continues to gravitate towards urban centres, it is critical these centres balance meeting the needs of their communities with environmental sustainability – a strategic priority for the UAE.

“This agreement reflects an important step forward in our focus on sustainable development and the transition to clean energy, with Expo City being one of five urban hubs in Dubai’s growth. It is also a timely transition as Expo City prepares to host the world once again for COP28, supporting global climate action,” Al Hashimy added.

Significant accomplishment

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, commented: “It is a significant accomplishment that Expo City Dubai, the site of COP28, will be powered by renewable energy produced here in the UAE, made possible by the world-class scale and ambition of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with key phases developed by Masdar.

The solar powered electricity to be used at Expo City Dubai has been accredited through the International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-REC) scheme. It is a tangible demonstration of our climate action leadership and another step forward in decarbonization at home and abroad, as we call on the world to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030 to keep the ambition of 1.5 degrees within reach.

Solar energy

Al Tayer said: “With the vision, guidance and unlimited support of the nation’s leadership, the UAE is hosting the largest international climate event – COP28 – in Expo City Dubai, building on the legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai as an exceptional location and a famed destination that brought the world together in the UAE. The collaboration between Expo City and DEWA signifies a groundbreaking step towards sustainable development, aligning with Dubai’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. By supplying Expo City with solar energy through I-RECs from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, we support the vision of leadership for Expo City Dubai to be a futuristic sustainable city.”

Al Tayer added: “With a current clean energy capacity of 2,627 megawatts, and 2,033 megawatts under construction to reach 4,660 megawatts by 2026, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park leverages cutting-edge technologies to harness the power of the sun. By 2030, the solar park’s total capacity is planned to reach 5,000 megawatts, contributing to an annual reduction of more than 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions.”

Serving as the currency for renewable energy markets, I-RECs signal that renewable electricity was produced to meet the required electricity demand of an organisation or urban centre. The supply of renewable energy from DEWA’s grid will support Expo City’s decarbonisation targets, and the city will also be taking measures to reduce energy consumption.

Aligned with the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, the agreement is a further reflection of the ambitious spirit of Dubai in the field of renewable energy, including the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. It also supports Expo City Dubai’s role as a hub in the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which maps out a comprehensive plan for a sustainable urban development in Dubai.