Energy ministers in major oil-exporting countries affirm their commitment to renewable energy
Ministers from the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, and Indonesia, three of the world’s major fossil fuel exporters, discussed efforts to diversify their economies and shift towards a green economy at the #GMIS2020 Virtual Summit, taking place from September 4-5.
Suhail Mohammed Faraj Al-Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said the UAE took a long-term approach to energy planning and tackling climate change, with green energy expected to provide half the country’s energy by 2050.
“In 2017 we looked at our options from energy sources and we looked at the targets and how we can make our cities among the world’s most liveable in the future,” he said. “And by 2050, we plan to shift from 100% reliance on natural gas in 2017 to produce 50% from green forms of energy.”
Solar will become the dominant contributor in the UAE energy mix with a 44% share which will cut CO2 emissions by 70% and produce savings of $190bn versus natural gas. The UAE is also the first country in the Middle East to develop nuclear power, with the first of four reactors at the Barakah nuclear power now online. Nuclear will provide 24% of the country’s power when all four reactors are eventually commissioned.
Al-Mazrouei said that addressing climate change had become even more important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic because environmental factors are a contributor to better health and the UAE is targeting cleaner cities in terms of CO2 emissions.
Improving demand side management with new building codes and smart city technologies will optimise energy efficiency, with fourth industrial revolution technologies playing a critical role in the process. “If you want to consume less energy that means you need to optimise your efficiency,” he said. “How would you do that without the help of artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things, or robotics? Therefore, the investment and the deployment of such technologies is quite important and part of our journey.”
Alexander Valentinovich Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, spoke of the need to reduce dependency on carbon-based energies. He said: “The time is now. The structure of our energy balance is changing. The pandemic has influenced consumer behavior but it was already changing. Demand for oil is falling at the moment and there’s a larger portion of non-carbon sources in the energy mix. Now hydrocarbons account for 85% of that mix, but it needs to reduce to 74% by 2040 and we’re seeing an investment increase of 5% in green and renewable energy sources compared to last year.
Novak said Russia is making steady progress towards developing renewable energy, having launched a programme in 2014 with the target of adding 6,000MW over a 10-year period to 2024 supported by government subsidies. Currently natural gas provides just under half of Russia’s energy production, with nuclear and hydroelectric power providing almost twenty percent (20%) each.
“n 2014 we had less than 1% of our energy mix was from renewables,” he said. “Right now it’s around 2% but should come up to 4 or 5%. We have committed to continue that programme for another 10 years until 2034 to add another 10,000MW when the cost should have come down sufficiently so that it will be competitive and no longer need to be subsidised.
Gen. (Ret.) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment of Indonesia, said the drop in natural resource prices during the pandemic had highlighted that the country’s reliance on hydrocarbon exports is not sustainable. Indonesia is committed to diversifying its economy.
“We strive to improve our human capital, inviting investors to cooperate with our ministry of industry to make vocational technology schools and use a more competitive local labour force. I invite partners and invest in Indonesia to develop our downstream metal and renewable energy industries, which have nascent potential.”
The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit is a joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Under the theme – Glocalisation: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Global Value Chains, the third edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2020) has gathered a cross-section of close to global leaders from the world’s public and private sector to participate across more than 20 virtual sessions to discuss pathways to accelerate the role of fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies to build more resilient global value chains and restore prosperity in a post-pandemic world.