During the past decade, there have been drastic changes in the renewable energy industry across the world and in the UAE. To address the impact of climate change on the environment and well-being of people, the UAE government launched the ‘UAE Energy Strategy 2050’ in early 2017 as an effort to diversify the country’s current energy sources. The initiative is in line with the UAE’s broader strategy for economic diversification and technological advancement.
The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to change traditional energy usage by shaping the demand and supply of alternative resources. In simple words, this project is in line with the UAE’s commitment to adopting cleaner energy resources in an attempt to reduce the dependence on crude oil and decrease the carbon footprint of the country.
UAE Energy Strategy 2050
In 2016, as part of an agenda of the United Nations, countries across the globe signed an agreement to introduce measures to reduce greenhouse-gas-emission and adopt alternative energy resources.
The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 is in line with this global vision. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of sustainable, green energy in the UAE. Sustainable projects like Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai have already directed international attention to the UAE’s efforts to embrace alternative energy sources.
UAE Energy Strategy 2050: The Primary Objectives
The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 has clear objectives. The program will:
- Increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy usage from 25% to 50% by the year 2050.
- Reduce the carbon footprint (of power generation) by 70% and save AED 700 billion.
- Increase consumption efficiency of all users (individuals and companies) by 40%.
Investment for Energy Strategy 2050
To achieve these goals, the UAE government plans to invest AED 600 billion towards the project by 2050. The focus is to meet the increasing demand and at the same time ensure economic growth. Dependency on fossil fuel and oil is being steadily reduced to manage the impact of climate change.
UAE Energy Strategy 2050 Phases
Three phases of UAE Energy Strategy 2050 have been introduced by the government.
The first phase, which is already being implemented, is about accelerating efficient consumption of energy and diversification.
The second phase will be about making efforts to find unique solutions to integrate energy and provide transportation solutions.
The final phase will focus on extensive R&D to identify and create ways to supply sustainable energy in the long run.
Pillars of UAE Energy Strategy 2050
The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 has five different pillars. It is closely related to other federal and local strategies including the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071 and the Dubai Plan 2021.
The Dubai Solar Park (Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park) is one of the largest infrastructure initiatives of this energy strategy. It is also the largest generator of alternative energy from a single location. This Solar Park has the capacity to generate 5,000 MW in the next ten years with a total investment of AED 50 billion. This amounts to 25% of the total energy requirement in Dubai.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has revealed that numerous other clean energy projects are underway. Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO), a company owned by DEWA, aims to retrofit more than 30,000 buildings in the emirate of Dubai by 2030 by upgrading their air-conditioning and lighting systems and making them energy efficient. It is estimated that this project will cost AED 30 billion but in the long term it is expected to save AED 52 billion.
Another major on-going infrastructure initiative is the Sharjah ‘Waste to Energy Project’ by Masdar and Bee’ah. This project will change the landscape of energy generation in the emirate. It will have the capacity to divert more than 300,000 tons of solid waste from landfills every year.
The facility will process around 37.5 tons of waste per hour to generate electricity. By next year, the aim is to divert 75% of the solid waste from UAE landfills to power this alternative energy source.
Another infrastructure development is the “Dubai Green Zone.” This zone will help attract investment for R&D in the field of clean energy.
The initial focus of the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050 was to develop a legislative structure to support the country’s green energy policies. The Shams Dubai initiative has allowed Dubai homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs. This was accomplished with the support of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Another aspect of it was improving building capacity at the municipal level. The larger goal of consumption rationalization and energy production can also be achieved by installing solar panels on all buildings in Dubai by 2030.
Dubai Green Fund
The Dubai Green Fund was established to accelerate the implementation of the Energy Strategy UAE 2050. The fund, worth AED 100 B, has been used to provide simple loans to investors at reduced interest rates. This loan can only be used to invest in the clean energy sector.
Building Capacities and Skills
Another critical component of implementing the Energy Strategy UAE 2050 is the development of human resources. Global coaching programs in coordination with international institutes like IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) have been introduced in this regard.
UAE Energy Mix 2050
The planned UAE Energy Mix 2050 will look like this:
- 44% clean energy
- 6% nuclear
- 38% gas
- 12% clean coal
The end goal is to make Dubai a city with the least carbon footprint in the world.
Since the plan has been in motion for the past three years, certain targets have already been achieved.
- Carbon emissions in Dubai went down to 19% in 2018. This was two years ahead of plan. By next year, i.e. 2021, the target is to reduce the numbers to 16%.
- Smaller projects under DEWA are also ongoing with a special focus on renewable energy projects.
- Disruptive technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), energy storage, blockchain, unmanned aerial vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being employed to support the Energy Strategy 2050.
- The global giant Unilever signed a contract with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to buy 20,757 of its International Renewable Energy Certificates (i-REC). In practical terms, this means that Unilever Middle East will use clean energy for its two manufacturing sites and their headquarters in (MENA). It will help them reduce their carbon emission by 9,116 tons.
DEWA’s conservation programs over the past decade have also achieved the desired results. From 2009 to 2018 a saving of AED 1.2 billion has been made by efficient use of water and electricity. The company has also introduced smart programs which helps customer self-diagnose interruptions in supply. This reduces the cost and saves organisational time as well. Moreover, the modern system also alerts customers of any unusually large jumps in consumption which might be the result of leakage.
The My Sustainable Living Programme of DEWA allows customers to assess their bills compared to other efficient homes with the help of graphs. Moreover, tips are provided to consumers to help reduce electricity and water consumption and over 350,000 residential customers registered for the service. DEWA has also installed 240 green charger stations across Dubai to encourage the usage of hybrid and electric cars and the service is offered for free.
The work on introducing green energy in the UAE is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. Looking at the fast progress that is being made, it could be said that the ambitious goals would be met comfortably.
Along with the Energy Strategy UAE 2050, there are other sustainable development initiatives which will help Dubai and the rest of the UAE become a greener, cleaner and a truly sustainable city. For example, the introduction of Dubai Pods will make a huge difference in the carbon footprint of the emirate. The government is working on the front to achieve the goal of providing UAE citizens with a healthy and safe environment along with a thriving economy.
Visit MyBayut to read all about the governmental initiatives to combat climate change.