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The UAE’s renewable energy drive

Mubarak Al Mansouri (AT HOME) / 27 April 2011

The idea that the UAE is actually committed to renewable energy may seem preposterous to the rest of the world since the UAE’s economy is built upon procurement of oil and gas which are activities, known to cause environmental repercussions.

Finding alternate sources of sustainable energy is very important in the event that traditional energy sources become depleted.  It is important to find these alternatives now while there is still time rather than wait until it is too late.  It is important that the citizens of the UAE understand the sole reason for sustainable energy is to preserve the environment for future generations. The UAE realises that no mistakes can be made in terms of development.

The United Arab Emirates is committed to renewable energy and reducing the amount of carbon emissions emitted into the air.  The UAE is committed to having growth in the arena of renewable energy because the future of energy resources is vested in this viable realm of energy. According to Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, the UAE will double renewable energy use by the year 2020.  These are aggressive goals, however they must become a reality and this is a goal that the leaders of the UAE are sure to achieve.

Renewable energy and the safe procurement of oil is an ever important concept in the United Arab Emirates especially since the world has witnessed many accounts of negligence on a grand scale. The UAE wishes to be clean and safe and create sustainable energy that will carry the country into the future. In addition, the UAE has the money and power to become a leading authority on renewable energy sources in the region.

The future of the UAE is vested in four major factions of change; Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Women’s Initiative (C3E), the Clean Energy Solutions Centre, the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Action Group, and the Multilateral Working Group on Wind and Solar Technologies. These four areas of change are based on changes that the UAE will make in the future and these four areas of change will shape the area of renewable energy in the UAE.

The UAE Foreign Minister, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has stated that the UAE will be a world leader in renewable energy. The goal is to increase the growth of renewable energy on a daily basis.  According to the renewable energy plan, Masdar City will be the model for being the first carbon neutral zone, which is a crowning achievement. This plan will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. Abu Dhabi is committed to be the model for the world to follow by being the planet’s first carbon neutral, zero waste cities, powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. Moreover, Abu Dhabi is committed to sustainable energy despite the rest of the world’s love affair with petroleum.

This venture will not come easily for any nation attempting to undertake such a large project, but the UAE is headed in the right direction.  They have taken  on a number of projects in many other countries, for example the London Array offshore wind project in the United Kingdom, solar thermal power plants in Spain, and others in places such as Egypt and the Seychelles. They are now looking to bring these types of projects to their home territory and create renewable energy systems most specifically in Abu Dhabi.  The current goal in Abu Dhabi is to have at least seven per cent of its electricity supply to come from renewable sources by 2020. Most of this is to come from solar power.

Hence, the UAE is poised to become a leader in the area of renewable energy and it is certainly at the forefront in the sector in the GCC. The realm of renewable energy will likely create financial gains  if the UAE joins the race before other GCC countries.

In addition to expanding business opportunities in the arena of renewable resources the country is also expected to take further steps to ensure that the country is clean and green.

Mubarak Al Mansouri is a Procurement  Officer at the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company

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