UAE's clean energy agenda: A light-bulb moment

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UAEs clean energy agenda: A light-bulb moment
In terms of per capita savings, each UAE resident can save more than $15,043 (Dh55,200) in annual energy, health and climate costs in 2050.

Dubai - Nation can save billions of dirhams in costs related to energy, health and climate change, as well as create a large number of jobs

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Wed 20 Sep 2017, 7:44 PM

Last updated: Sat 23 Sep 2017, 11:44 AM

Renewable energy has, of late, become a household name now and one of the hottest topics globally - thanks to climate change and greenhouses gases resulting in harsh weather in different parts of the world.
Be it a developed or develop country, no nation is immune from the impact of global warming, resulting in financial losses running into billions of dirhams and also rise in deaths due to air pollution. Going by a global study, the UAE can save billions of dirhams in costs related to energy, health and climate change, create a large number of jobs in addition to reducing the number of deaths due to air pollution by transitioning into 100 per cent renewable energy.
Conducted by Researchers at Stanford University and other US and European universities, the study showed that the UAE can create 611,500 jobs by successfully adopting cleaner renewable energy.
The study, by Solutions Project, stated that 364,159 jobs can be created in operational segment and 247,340 in construction sector. These figures are based on the numbers of jobs where a person is employed for 40 consecutive years.
Dh55,200 per capita saving
In terms of per capita savings, each UAE resident can save more than $15,043 (Dh55,200) in annual energy, health and climate costs in 2050. In addition, an individual will be able to save $1,440 annually (Dh4,184) in annual energy costs alone.
Led by Dubai, the UAE has embarked on massive plans to reduce reliance on conventional energy sources and increase renewable energy. Going forward, the UAE government will increasingly tap solar as main source to meet the country's energy needs.
As part of emirate's clean energy strategy 2050, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) managing director and chief executive Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said Dubai aims to increase the share of clean energy in total power output to seen per cent by 2020, 25 per cent by 2030, and 75 per cent by 2050.
"Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world," Al Tayer said.
Earlier this week, Dubai announced world's largest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project at a cost Dh14.2 billion, generating 700MW of clean energy. Located in Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the contract was awarded to a consortium comprising of Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power and China's Shanghai Electric.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the IPP model. It will generate 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030.
Abu Dhabi also earlier this year announced $870 million solar power plant to produce 1,177MW of cleaner energy to meet the rising needs of the emirate.
Addressing the plenary session of the XI Kazenergy Eurasian Forum, UAE Minister of Energy Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Al Mazroui had stressed that UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to increase the contribution of clean energy to the total energy mix to 50 per cent, saving Dh700 billion by 2050. He noted that the country has future investments of Dh600 billion as part of its energy strategy 2050.
Ghassan Alakwaa, an energy research analyst at Apicorp, said the UAE - Dubai in particular - is playing a prominent role in driving renewable energy integration in the region. "Having broken world records in solar pricing several times in the last couple of years, Dubai recently announced a new 700MW CSP project as part of the Dubai Solar Park. Dubai's success has mainly been achieved due to its ability in attracting the private sector and providing an excellent business environment. Looking ahead, Dubai is likely to continue setting the pace with several large renewable projects in the years to come," Alakwaa said. He added that renewable energy viability varies across regions and countries. "The Arab world is blessed with excellent sun and wind resources. The latest projects that we have seen awarded in Dubai have been extremely competitive and sometimes more competitive than conventional sources."
Dh61b savings in health costs
According to the Solution Project study, solar plant could contribute 79.4 per cent to the UAE's energy requirements by 2050, followed by concentrated solar plant at 10 per cent, onshore and offshore wind at four per cent each. While commercial/government rooftop solar can make up 1.3 per cent, residential rooftop solar 0.8 per cent and wave energy at 0.5 per cent.
Moreover, the report predicted that UAE can save $16.7 billion (Dh61.3 billion) - equal to 3.7 per cent of GDP - in annual health-related costs and 1,621 deaths due to air pollution. It further forecast that the average fossil-fuel energy costs will be 12.1¢ per kilowatt hour as against 6.7¢ per kilowatt hour generated through wind, water and solar.

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