Paris: The Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance has been officially launched at the 21st annual Conference of Parties (COP21). Aiming to integrate renewable energy in the desalination of water, the association is initiated by Masdar, and the group’s first meeting will be hosted at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) next year.

“This is the only alliance that is targeting what we call the water-energy nexus. We need energy to create water because we use desalination that is very energy-intensive. In fact, it requires 10 times more power to desalinate seawater than to produce normal water from rivers and other sources,” Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, told Gulf News at the inauguration.

“Water and energy are very interlinked and this association is the first to address that connection. Back home in Abu Dhabi, we launched the pilot [project] during innovation week where, in collaboration with four companies, we will hopefully create a technology that reduces energy consumption of water desalination by 40 per cent,” he added.

The lesser the energy used for desalination, the lesser is the emission of by-products like carbon dioxide.

On the sidelines, Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), said: “Dubai relies on desalinated water for up to 99 per cent [of its needs]. Dubai contains some of the largest desalination plants and we already use renewable energy for 75 per cent of the process.”

Raphael Schoentgen, Member of the Executive Committee Research and Technologies Division at Engie, a French multinational electric utility company , said: “The UAE is taking the lead in supporting a number of pilot [projects] and we as Engie are involved in this dynamic along with other partners and we have last year established an Engie laboratory next to Masdar. There is a wide space in terms of using renewable energy for the desalination of water.”.

“The first meeting is going to really determine the roles of each member of the alliance,” he added.

Saturday marks the sixth day of COP 21 where a number of initiatives are being launched and delegates are negotiating a framework to keep global warming below two degrees Centigrade.