Move to green energy accelerating post-Covid-19
The move towards green energy has been seeing significant acceleration across the UAE and Middle East region, in line with global trends, as companies strengthen their commitment to fighting climate changes, experts said at the seventh World Green Economy Summit (WGES).
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the event opened on Wednesday at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai. Coinciding with the 23rd Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show, this year’s edition of WGES sees the attendance of several global leaders and officials from various sectors of the green economy and sustainable development.
Philippe Diez, vice president, EMEA, Energy & Sustainability Services, Schneider Electric, said that the post-Covid-19 focus on green technology has increased significantly, in line with calls for more action on climate change. “Brands are calculating and increasingly looking into what they can do to decrease their carbon footprint, and renewables, in particular, have become a big part of their strategy. Put simply, the interest in sustainability has resulted in more of an interest in renewables.”
Schneider, as an international advisor to companies on agreements regarding wind and solar energy, has seen a steady acceleration in requests from clients on renewable energy, he added. “Electricity is going to be a key source of energy for smart cities and the only way to make it sustainable is to look into green electricity solutions. Renewables are going to be the main source of electricity for energy providers, and we see their contribution increasing to around 50 per cent by 2030. Not only is this good for the planet, but it is also economically viable.”
Alexandra Palt, chief corporate responsibility officer at L’Oreal, said that it is very important for companies to be seen as being committed to sustainability. “Fighting climate change is the only way forward for all of us. If we do not fight climate change and biodiversity loss, then we will not have societies and environments in which we can operate. More and more, societies as a whole are aware of this need and it is important for us to respond to this expectation from our customers by not only being committed but also taking action to fight the challenges that the world faces.”
Fady Juez, managing director of Metito, also noted that the renewable energy industry has been growing at a “remarkable speed” over the past decade. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reported that more than 260GW of renewable energy capacity was added globally in 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic and subsequent economic disruptions. More than 80 per cent of all new electricity capacity added was renewable, with solar and wind accounting for 91 per cent.
“As the energy sector transforms to a greener model, there is a spillover effect on the water and wastewater industry,” he said. “Due to the arid climate, population growth and industrialisation, there is an ever-increasing requirement for clean, safe water in the Middle East. To bridge this gap between supply and demand, desalination remains to be the solution of choice, and in the recent past, has benefitted from the spillover effect. This is especially true given that the process of desalination is quite energy intensive, making the implementation of green technologies of great value.”
“As governments accelerate efforts to achieve water security - a critical part of many national visions, we are seeing more interest in hybrid projects where both traditional and alternative energy sources are being used in desalination,” he added. “We are working on a number of projects throughout the Mena region to implement not just the most advanced technologies in the sector, but also coupling this with renewable energy - specifically solar. This guarantees the most innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to our clients and in general the most shared value for all the relevant stakeholders. We expect the trend to adopt renewable, more eco-friendly technologies and energy to continue to grow well beyond 2021 and regardless of the evolution of the pandemic.”
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