World Energy Day on 22nd October, is an initiative endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, during the World Energy Forum in Dubai in 2012.
It was endorsed in the presence of representatives of 54 countries and the United Nations (UN), Arab League and African Union Commission through the “Dubai Declaration of Energy for All”. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s futuristic vision plays a fundamental role in cooperation between local and international public and private organizations.
World Energy Day underlines the importance of renewable energy as the main pillar of sustainability and a strategic priority for the UAE, leading proactive efforts in adopting innovation to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and global warming. It consolidates the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. The UAE has taken early steps to bid farewell to the last barrel of oil, balance development and preserve a healthy and clean environment.
The UAE’s efforts in this area have been crowned with ranking among the top ten players in energy efficiency, in recognition by the UN for its comprehensive development. This is supported by diversification of resources, a strong infrastructure, and leadership in clean energy to create a green economy.
The UAE has won international leadership positions in the competitiveness indicators of the energy sector in general, and clean energy in particular, after seven international references agreed to classify it among the top 10 countries in the world with 18 sector-specific indicators in 2020. The UAE, represented by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has maintained its first ranking globally for the third consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all “Getting Electricity” indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report.
In this context, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said, “We have a clear strategy and objectives to increase the use of clean and renewable energy in the energy mix of Dubai. This is in accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to promote sustainable development. Dubai is a pioneer in the transition towards a green economy through two parallel courses of action. The first is to reduce energy and water demand by 30 percent by 2030 by promoting efficiency and conservation programs. In contrast, the second is improving the supply side by diversifying the energy mix, especially clean energy, increasing the efficiency and reducing the power and water network losses.”
“World Energy Day is one of the UAE’s contributions to the world to achieve sustainable development. It is an opportunity to prioritize developing national energy policies that support sustainable development to overcome current and future challenges facing the energy sector. It also supports policies for implementing and developing mechanisms and frameworks for the exchange of experiences among all countries, the acceleration towards renewable energy and encouraging its responsible and rational use to protect the environment, reduce carbon emissions and preserve our precious natural resources,” he added.
In his statement on World Energy Day, Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The UAE has developed a set of future plans to diversify energy sources and move towards clean ones, especially nuclear power. The operation of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will move forward with efforts to shift towards clean energy in the country, ensuring energy sustainability, diversity and security for decades to come. The UAE also follows a long-term approach to planning for the future of energy and reducing emissions, which prompted us to launch the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 to raise the efficiency of individual and institutional consumption by 40%, and raise the contribution of clean energy in the total mix of energy produced in the country to 50%, as well as to ensure meeting energy demand and sustaining growth in the country’s economy.”
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said, “We are guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to make Dubai a global model for clean energy and green economy through adopting Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)s, Energy Storage, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and others. DEWA is committed to innovating proactive solutions for the next 50 years and achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide 75 percent of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources. The installed capacity of clean energy in Dubai has reached nine percent of the energy mix in 2020 which is two percent more than the target for 2020. One of our key projects to achieve this is the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world with a planned capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030. Solar power capacity in operation at the Solar Park has reached 1,310 MW using solar photovoltaic panels and will reach 13.3 percent of the total production capacity on several stages until Q1 of next year.”
“We also have the green hydrogen production project using solar energy, Hatta hydroelectric power plant and the using wind energy projects. DEWA’s installed capacity of electricity has reached 13,200 MW and 490 MIGD. We strive to spread awareness of the importance of conservation. DEWA’s conservation programmes and initiatives from 2009 to 2020 achieved cumulative savings of 2.6 terrawatthours (TWh) of electricity and 8.5 billion gallons of water. This is equivalent to saving AED1.5 billion and reducing 1.136 million tonnes of carbon emissions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Saeed Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority (SEWA), highlighted that the wise leadership in general and the Emirate of Sharjah, in particular, adopts a unique vision for the energy sector.
He noted that SEWA is working to implement the vision and directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to meet the increasing demand for electric power in Sharjah via the SEWA 2030 Roadmap. It aims to boost the installed power generation capacity in Sharjah to 4,600 megawatts by implementing two projects to expand the Hamriyah and Al Layyah power plants.
The 1,800MW Hamriyah Independent Power Plant (IPP) is the first independent combined-cycle power plant in Sharjah and the most efficient power plant in the Middle East’s utilities sector. It consists of three combined cycle blocks, with the first unit being operational since April 2021 and expected to reach full commercial operations by May 2023. Al Layyah Power Plant, on the other hand, consists of two gas turbines with a capacity of 345 MW each, and two heat recovery boilers and a steam turbine with a capacity of 336 MW. The total efficiency of the project is 1026 megawatt. The operation of the first gas turbine will start in November 2021, and the project will be completed in July 2022.
After the project is completed, it will replace 17 old electricity production units with a total capacity of 900 MW at the Al Layyah plant.
Ahmad Al Muhairbi, Secretary-General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, said, “On World Energy Day and in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, we highlight the importance of strengthening collaboration between the public and private sectors to enhance green investments, support innovation, find long-term sustainable solutions, increasing the focus on Artificial Intelligence and advanced technologies to enhance sustainability and energy efficiency. This also continues Dubai’s leading role in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change through increasing the use of clean and renewable energy to make Dubai a global hub for clean energy and green economy.”