HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), discussed the UAE’s clean energy sector, its future evolution and growth, how the UAE is creating a comparative advantage at home, and influencing the growth of clean energy in the region and around the world, as it strives to achieve the wise leadership’s long-term vision and the UAE Centennial 2071; to make the UAE the world’s leading nation, and to ensure its sustainable development and happiness.
Al Tayer emphasised that these ongoing efforts will achieve the UAE Soft Power Strategy to increase the UAE’s global reputation abroad by highlighting its identity, heritage, culture and contribution to the world.
Al Tayer made these remarks during his speech at the 3rd Aqdar World Summit, which is held in Moscow, Russia, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and in the presence of His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the UAE. The Aqdar World Summit is held under the theme ‘Global Empowerment of Communities: Experiences and Lessons Learned.’
At the beginning of his speech, HE Al Tayer praised the directives of the wise leadership represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; to make the UAE, the world’s leading nation.
“I would like to thank His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, for this opportunity to share what we have learned in the UAE about the economics of renewable energy and our experiences with solar power. I will tackle clean energy in the United Arab Emirates: its future evolution and growth, how we are creating a comparative advantage at home and influencing the growth of clean energy in the region and around the world as we strive to achieve our wise leadership long-term vision, the UAE Centennial 2071 to make the UAE, the world’s leading nation and to ensure sustainable development and happiness of our nation. We also strive to achieve the UAE Soft Power Strategy to increase the UAE’s global reputation abroad by highlighting its identity, heritage, culture and contributions of our nation to the world,” said Al Tayer in his speech.
“We, as a nation, share this common desire with the planet to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 of the United Nations and work to reduce the effects of climate change and global warming. This is why the UAE has many federal and local strategies to sustainable development, with a specific emphasis on transitioning to a clean energy landscape. Clean energy is a priority for our nation, as shown by the UAE beating stiff competition to secure the United Nations’ headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2015. This is the first time a UN agency has been headquartered outside the USA and Europe. In addition, The World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO) was launched in Dubai in 2016 by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). We are confidently moving forward in accordance with key strategies to achieve this transformation through the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50% by 2050, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. Our efforts contributed to a significant reduction in carbon emissions in Dubai. Net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have also achieved a considerable reduction of 19% by the end of 2018. This great achievement is two years ahead of the target date set by the Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021.”
“Currently, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are making considerable advances in the generation and development of clean energy sources, mainly solar power, in the UAE. Recently, the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic plant of 1,177MW at Sweihan in Abu Dhabi Emirate was commissioned on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) basis. Dubai’s main project under the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 is the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. This will be the largest single-site solar park in the world, which will have a capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2030, generated from a range of photovoltaic and concentrated solar power technologies with a total investment of more than USD13 billion and reducing carbon dioxide by 6.5 million metric tonnes per year. The solar park features the value chain of solar power, from research and development, innovation to power generation, storage and continuous improvement, ensuring leading results in clean energy. The solar park has one of the most advanced and pioneering clean energy technologies in the world; including photovoltaic arrays, parabolic troughs, the world’s tallest solar tower with heliostats and using molten salt for storage in order to generate clean energy; both day and night,” said Al Tayer.
“The solar park began operations in 2013 with a 13-megawatt photovoltaic plant. As of today, it now can generate 713 megawatts and is due to exceed its target of 1,000 megawatts in 2020, with new phases currently under construction and design that will reach 2,863 megawatts by 2023 with investments of over USD6 billion. DEWA achieved world-leading results by applying a successful Public Private Partnership practice known as the Independent Power Producer model. This has been highly effective in five main directions: The first is establishing a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework to attract and protect foreign investments. The second is that it has caused reputable international solar power companies to deliver state of the art technologies without the need for our own direct investment. Focusing on the IPP model has enabled us to divert our investments towards other areas, such as the Research and Development Centre at the solar park. The third is building Emirati capacity and skills in coordination with international organisations and Universities in clean energy. The fourth, increasing efficiency: We started our journey with early generation thin film photovoltaic panels having an efficiency of 11.8% and now we reached 19% efficiency with mono-PERC solar cell technology. Moreover, using self-cleaning and an advanced solar tracking system, we have increased energy yield of the plant by around 24%. The fifth has been one that has had global effect for the solar power industry, in that the various phases for the solar park have resulted in four world records for solar tariffs in the bids. This is being accelerated by international investments overseas by Masdar in renewable energy projects in 27 countries around the world; totalling USD12 billion with a gross capacity of nearly 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects in operation or under development, and reducing nearly 5.4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. These figures have deconstructed the myth that solar power is expensive and incapable of supporting the rise of clean energy around the world. Abu Dhabi has installed photovoltaic arrays in government buildings across the Emirate as well as many other solar initiatives,” added Al Tayer.
“Further proof can be found in the rise of businesses and homes in Dubai building photovoltaic plants to also use solar power. As of today, there is more than 100 megawatts of rooftop solar photovoltaic capacity installed across Dubai. This initiative, Shams Dubai, has the legislation and regulations in place to enable solar power to spread across the city and provide additional clean capacity. Yet clean energy continues to evolve as well as grow, which is why Research and Development is so important. The R&D Centre at the solar park focuses on solar power, energy efficiency, smart grid integration and solar powered water desalination. This includes testing a range a photovoltaic and concentrated solar power technologies, as well as solutions that increase their efficiency and reliability. One example is soiling of solar photovoltaic panels in a desert environment. We are testing soil-resistant coating, and advanced robotics to clean photovoltaic panels and remove the effects of dust soiling,” noted Al Tayer.
“As part of our continuous journey to enhance the contribution of solar power in our generation mix, by adopting innovative technologies, we have embarked on a study for floating solar photovoltaic plants in the Arabian Gulf. We are working to make Dubai a global model for clean energy and green economy and leveraging on the Fourth industrial revolution with disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, drones, energy storage, blockchain, and the Internet of Things. We support the 10X initiative launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to propel Dubai towards the future, making it 10 years ahead of other global cities through government innovation. In DEWA, we have decided to reshape the concept of utilities and create a new digital future by launching Digital DEWA, the digital arm of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. To develop artificial intelligence and digital services to support solar power as well as energy storage technologies to maximise its efficiency and output. This holistic approach to clean energy also shows the need to look at it in all its forms and not only solar. One of these might surprise you – hydroelectricity. DEWA is building the first Pumped Storage hydroelectricity power plant in the GCC region, with two reservoirs in Hatta to generate 250 megawatts, with solar powered pumps pushing water to the higher reservoir to serve as a natural power storage. The lifetime of the plant is around 80 years and full power output can be delivered to the grid within 90 seconds. Solar power is also used for water desalination. We are now looking to clean energy powered sea water Reverse Osmosis (RO) to expand our production capacity to 305 million gallons of desalinated water per day by 2030 and this will increase our total production capacity to 750 million gallons per day. This is also part of our efforts to ensure that by 2030, all of our desalinated water will be powered by clean energy,” said Al Tayer.
“It is easy to talk about our successes but we must be brave as we move boldly, into the future. Clean energy represents a brighter future for the planet and not just for our respective nations, and yet it requires courage, determination, and a vision to succeed. We should all join forces to combat climate change and global warming, balance the demands of society and economy with the environment if we all truly embrace sustainable development. This represents our continuing aspiration in the UAE for a brighter future, not just for us today and not just for our children, but for generations to come,” concluded Al Tayer