Solar energy is integral element of UAE's climate response, says Minister

Emirates is the home to three of the world's largest solar power plants, with many other large-scale projects planned or under development


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 25 Jul 2023, 7:07 PM

Renewables like solar energy are crucial in enabling the UAE's energy transition, said a minister during the fifth meeting of the ISA Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific Region held in Abu Dhabi.

"We are gathered here to reaffirm our commitment to promoting clean and sustainable energy solutions. The UAE sees renewables, practically solar, as an integral element in our response to climate change. The UAE is the home to three of the world's largest solar power plants, with many other large-scale projects planned or under development," Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said during the first in-person regional gathering of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UAE's incredible portfolio of power stations includes the Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Power Plant – the world's largest independent solar power plant, the Shams Solar Power Station in Abu Dhabi – one of the world's largest operational Concentrated Solar Power Plant stations, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai – world's largest single-site solar energy project under the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model. The Al Dhafra Solar PV facility, the world's largest independent solar power plant, is also getting built in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

"The UAE's energy sector has been a major developer to ensure that we are on track to achieve our Net Zero targets and reflect more progressive climate actions," Al Mazrouei noted and pointed out the recent updates to the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy to bolster the country's efforts to meet its climate and net-zero commitments by 2050.

The minister underlined that both strategies will help position the UAE at the “forefront of the global energy transition”, and contribute to reducing the emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

Al Mazrouei said that as the host of COP28, the UAE perceives the global energy transition as the “front and centre focus” of the Presidency and will work with all participants to help make a “concentrated push” to triple renewable energy capacity and double the production of hydrogen by 2030.

“I extend an open invitation to each and every one of you to join us at COP28 and help us push the energy transition agenda. Together we can create a world where clean and renewable energy power our economies, safeguard our environment and ensure a better life for generations to come,” the minister added.

The meeting convened global energy leaders in Abu Dhabi to advance solar energy deployment, in alignment with the COP28 Presidency’s vision.

Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, ISA, highlighted that the UAE has one of the most affordable solar electricity worth only 2 and a half-cent kilo-watt hour.

“This is a promising example of the future of solar energy in the Asia Pacific. Solar has already significantly exceeded the projections for it over the last decade, and demonstrated its efficacy in enabling energy access at the lowest cost to the most hard-to-reach populations, providing energy security for vulnerable developing economies and being a critical piece for accelerating energy transitions globally.”

With the global cumulative solar PV installed capacity surpassing 1 terawatt and solar PV becoming the cheapest source of new electricity in many regions, the ISA emphasised the potential of increased solar deployment to drive further cost reductions.


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