From eco-friendly developments to sustainable initiatives that reduce the country’s carbon footprint – the UAE has been doing everything to drive environmental conservation in the region. The use of alternative energy or renewable energy in the UAE for electricity generation is just another important step towards the country’s ultimate goal to achieve long-term sustainability.
RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE UAE
The UAE has always championed the cause of sustainability. The various initiatives for sustainable developments in the UAE have time and again focused on the conservation of the environment through clean energy, green development and finding alternative eco-friendly solutions for the increasing demand for water and electricity in the country.
One of the most prominent objectives of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 is to increase the use of clean energy to constitute 50% of the total energy usage in the country. Clean energy is derived from renewable or sustainable energy sources that are not harmful to the environment. Renewable energy is derived from the earth’s natural resources like the sun, wind and water.
TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE UAE
There are different types of renewable energy around us – the most prominent ones being the wind, hydro and solar energy.
While the UAE is void of rivers to produce hydro power, it has worked tirelessly to introduce wind, solar and nuclear power as alternative sources of energy in the country.
Solar energy is one of the most reliable sources of sustainable energy in the UAE and it’s popular across the world for its abundance. In 2013, the UAE ranked third in the world for the production of concentrated solar power (CSP) with a production capacity of about 140 MW.
SHAMS 1 STATION IN ABU DHABI
Spread over an area of 2.5 sq.m, Shams 1 by Masdar City was one of the first renewable energy projects launched in the UAE. With an installed capacity of 100 megawatts, the Shams 1 solar plant is considered one of the largest renewable energy projects in the UAE. The plant produces 7% of the total power needs of Abu Dhabi using renewable solar energy and powers 20,000 homes in the emirate.
MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM SOLAR PARK
Launched in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a one-of-a-kind renewable energy project in Dubai. Also known as the Dubai Solar Park, it is the largest single-site concentrated solar energy plant in the world. By 2030, the project is expected to produce up to 5,000 MW of electricity.
WIND POWER GENERATION IN THE UAE
When it comes to low-cost sources of renewable energy, wind energy is one of the most widely used alternative energy sources. This prominent type of renewable energy is found in abundance on the UAE’s coastal belt. Wind energy in the UAE can be used to convert the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy.
Masdar Company will build the country’s first wind turbine to generate electricity on Sir Bani Yas Island. This plant will have the capacity to produce 850 kW energy per hour.
CONVERSION OF WASTE INTO ENERGY
As a part of the UAE’s Vision 2021, sustainable power generation in the country remains an important agenda. While the use of natural sources of energy contributes significantly to the cause, the conversion of waste into energy is a valuable addition to the existing sources of renewable energy in the UAE.
By 2021, the UAE hopes to increase the use of waste for power generation by 75%, with several partner companies helping it reach the UAE renewable energy target.
Work on the construction of a waste-to-energy plant in the Al-Warsan 2 area of Dubai is already underway. With the help of this plant and the efforts for recycling in Dubai, the emirates aims to produce 7% of its electricity needs through waste conversion.
Similar efforts in Abu Dhabi are undertaken by Tadweer – the waste management centre in Abu Dhabi
Nuclear energy has emerged as an ideal source of renewable energy in the UAE. It is economically feasible and uses safe, environment-friendly and reliable technology to produce electricity. Once the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Al Dhafrah, Abu Dhabi is completed, the nuclear energy produced there will help diversify the energy supply in the UAE.
It is predicted that the use of nuclear energy in the UAE will support economic development, provide job opportunities for the people and ensure energy security for the country in the future.
ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY – THE WAY FORWARD FOR DUBAI
While development of renewable energy sources in the UAE has powered its efforts towards achieving long term sustainability in every aspect of its governance, Dubai has been at the helm of this movement. The emirate has been the longstanding trailblazer for environment-friendly living. There are specific eco-friendly districts in Dubai that rely on renewable energy sources in the UAE including:
Besides that the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority is soon expected to launch flying cars in Dubai – an imminent reality that until now only seemed like a figment of our imagination.
Just like the use of electric cars in the UAE, it is anticipated that flying cars will reduce traffic congestion and its consequent pollution in the city. The futuristic Dubai Sky Pod Transportation System is also a massive step towards accomplishing the emirate’s lofty sustainability goals.
The renewable energy sources in the UAE will prove monumental in the coming years to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and help it achieve its overall sustainability milestones.
However, it is not just the government’s responsibility to work towards it – every single one of us can contribute. And the best way to do it, is to first develop environmental consciousness and make your home eco-friendly.
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