Export renewable power not fossil fuel, says minister

Export renewable power not fossil fuel, says minister
Minister of Energy Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei.

Abu Dhabi - Sustainability week urges UAE to implement energy policy at federal level.

By Silvia Radan

Published: Fri 22 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 23 Jan 2016, 1:50 PM

The UAE Minister of Energy, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, said during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) that he would like to see the UAE export renewable power to Europe, rather than fossil fuel.
According to experts discussing climate change in the UAE on the last day of ADSW on Thursday, this is highly achievable, but only if the UAE implements a climate change and renewable energy policy at the federal level.
"Climate change is very real for the region. Last summer we had record high temperatures in Iran and Iraq, and summer days are predicted to become frequently hotter. Climate change demands urgent action at the national level," said Tanzeed Alam, climate change director at Emirates Wildlife Society - World Wide Fund for Nature.
"I'm very optimistic about the UAE's achievements of renewable energy, but there is no policy at the federal level, and we need one to set up and implement financing, capacity building and national plans," he stressed.
Alam also pointed out that the UAE needs more uniform decisions that not only links projects and targets between the emirates, but also stick with sustainable goals.
"The Dubai government said it wants to achieve 75 per cent of its energy from solar power by 2050 and 30 per cent by 2030. At the same time, Dubai has also announced plans to develop a coal factory, which doesn't fit with climate change and renewable energy plans," he said.
Dr Sgouris Sgouridis, associate professor at Engineering Systems and Management, Masdar Institute, also stressed that the UAE needs to pick up pace if it wants to achieve the promised targets of renewable energy, crucial to combating climate change.
In 2014 the UAE had less than 0.2 per cent of clean energy in its total energy mix and even now, two years later, it only reached one per cent.
"In 2013-2014, the UAE only had 0.1 terawatts (TW) per year of clean energy. To achieve its targets, that amount needs to grow by about 15 times to eight to 10 TW per year," pointed out Dr. Sgouridis.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency's (Irena) report, if the UAE would manage just 10 per cent of renewables in its total energy mix, it would be enough to attract investments in renewables.
The UAE, though, announced even more ambitious plans of reaching 24 per cent clean energy in its total mix, including nuclear.
"If Irena's recommendation of just 10 per cent clean energy is to be met, UAE needs to instal 25 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy by 2030," said Dr. Sgouridis.

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