MD & CEO of DEWA highlights Dubai’s experience in renewable and clean energy in keynote address at World Energy Congress 2019
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) presented Dubai’s experience in renewable and clean energy in a keynote address on the second day of the 24th World Energy Congress (WEC), which is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. DEWA is a host sponsor of the conference, which is held under the theme ‘Energy for Prosperity’ in Abu Dhabi from 9-12 September 2019.
First, Al Tayer welcomed the guests of the United Arab Emirates, the first Arab country and the first country of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to host this global congress.
“Hosting this global conference in Abu Dhabi, affirms the UAE’s position as an ideal platform to host the world’s largest, longest-running and most influential energy gathering, under the vision and guidance of the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to focus on renewable energy and achieve balance between development and the environment,” said Al Tayer.
Al Tayer shared DEWA’s experience in anticipating and creating the future of energy by innovating a future model for utilities based on innovative disruptive technologies in the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity and water, as well as clean energy production to transform Dubai into a global centre for clean energy and green economy.
“Despite possessing one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the UAE has prepared early to deliver the last barrel of oil, as stated by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ‘We have started our first steps & early preparations for the sustainability of our resources and to bid farewell to the last drop of oil’. And today our nation leads global efforts in the clean and renewable energy sector through its strategies and investments. We are striving to achieve this transition through the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50% by 2050, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. At DEWA, we have investments of over AED 86 billion over the next five years to meet the growing demand for electricity and water in the Emirate. DEWA has an installed capacity of 11,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 470 Million Imperial Gallons (MIGD) of desalinated water per day, and provides services to over 900,000 customers in Dubai through the highest levels of availability, reliability, quality and efficiency,” said Al Tayer.
“We have an integrated vision to ensure energy security and sustainability that includes three main pillars: The first is to produce more clean energy, especially solar energy, under the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, our main projects include the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of our major projects to achieve this goal. It is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) Model, with a production capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030.
The second is to decouple the desalination process from the production of electricity, and desalinate water using solar energy. DEWA aims to produce 100% desalinated water by 2030 using a combination of clean energy sources and waste heat. The Third is ‘Disrupting the role of utilities by digitisation using the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), UAVs, energy storage, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and many more,” added Al Tayer.
Al Tayer noted that to achieve the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 efficiently and effectively, DEWA launched several initiatives including: Firstly, develop a framework for public-private partnership through the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model supported by a strong regulatory framework for clean energy projects. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with investments of 13.6 billion US Dollars, is one of the projects within this framework. The solar park’s power production will reach 5000 megawatts by 2030, 4000 megawatts from photovoltaic panels and 1000 megawatts from Concentrated Solar Energy (CSP). The IPP model contributed to world record prices for solar energy projects. The major projects implemented by DEWA in collaboration with the private sector, are contributing to Dubai’s economic growth. Achieving the goals of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 requires a production capacity of 42,000 megawatts of clean and renewable energy by 2050. DEWA has attracted huge investments to the UAE, from the private sector and foreign banks, resulting in increased cash flows to the economy of Dubai and the UAE.
Secondly, building Emirati capacity and skills. DEWA worked to develop world-class capacity building and skills in clean energy with local and international organisations and universities.
Thirdly, energy storage technologies and requirements are key elements for renewable energy, which is variable and unstable, particularly solar energy, the most common source in the Middle East. DEWA is currently working on the construction of the largest CSP single-site investment project in the world in thermal energy storage. The project uses concentrated solar power of 700 megawatts and 250 megawatt solar PV. The CSP plant will use 600MW from a parabolic basin system and 100MW from a concentrated solar tower. The total investment of the project amounts to 4.3 billion US Dollars. The project will include the construction of the world’s tallest 260-meter solar tower and the world’s largest global thermal storage capacity of 15 hours; allowing for energy availability round the clock.
Fourthly, DEWA has increased efficiency, starting its journey with early generation thin film PV panels of 11.8% efficiency and now it has succeeded to reach 19% efficiency with mono-PERC solar cell technology. Moreover, using self-cleaning and an advanced solar tracking system, it has increased energy yield of the plant by around 24%.
“In Dubai, we are working for a new digital future through Digital DEWA, our digital arm, which aims to disrupt the entire business of public utilities by becoming the world’s first digital utility based on four pillars: The first pillar is launching advanced solar power technologies. The second pillar is deploying a renewable energy grid with innovative energy storage technologies. The third pillar is expanding the use of integrated AI solutions to make Dubai the first city to provide AI-based electricity and water services. The fourth pillar includes the MORO data hub that provides advanced and innovative digital solutions, locally and globally. In addition, we are implementing leading, innovative energy projects, including a 250-megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in Hatta, the first of its kind in the GCC region. The lifetime of the plant is around 80 years and full Power output can be delivered to the grid within 90 seconds. The Green Hydrogen Project is the first solar-driven green hydrogen electrolysis facility in the MENA region. This project uses clean energy to produce green hydrogen at the facility that will be stored and deployed for different uses. In a new and innovative initiative to use solar energy technologies, we are currently embarking on a study to develop and build floating solar photovoltaic plants in the Arabian Gulf. The feasibility study includes the technical requirements for floating solar photovoltaic plants. We are integrating renewable energy and seawater desalination using reverse osmosis technology, which will benefit from renewable energy, especially photovoltaic solar energy, for water desalination and storage in aquifers, and then recover and re-pump into the water network when needed,” noted Al Tayer.
“Our wise leadership gives great importance to the environment. DEWA seeks to consolidate sustainability with its economic, social, and environmental aspects within an organisational framework and integrated system to ensure sustainable results. To achieve this, DEWA is working on several directions, including the launching of pilot projects in renewable and clean energy and enhancing energy efficiency. We continue to launch new initiatives aimed at rationalising consumption, reducing carbon emissions and encouraging community members to produce electricity from solar energy in buildings and connecting them to DEWA’s grid, and the use of electric vehicles and other initiatives and programmes; aimed at reducing our carbon footprint and promoting the transition to a green economy in Dubai. DEWA’s efforts, together with the efforts of other government organisations and private institutions in Dubai, have achieved an astounding 19% reduction in CO2 emissions of Dubai when compared to the business as usual (BAU) scenario, two years ahead of the targeted date. This exceeds our Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 target to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021. DEWA ensured a global achievement as Dubai received the Platinum Rating in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Cities certification awarded by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The Platinum Rating is the highest rating for a city’s sustainability performance benchmark. Qualifying cities are measured, within a comprehensive framework, according to 14 metrics relating to the energy and water sector, waste treatment, transportation, human experience, education, prosperity, equality, health, and safety,” added Al Tayer.
“We will continue to work with all stakeholders from around the world to explore and create the future of energy by adopting innovative solutions that will contribute to making the energy sector more sustainable. I am confident that this conference will achieve outstanding results that will contribute to promoting the shift towards greater reliance on renewable and clean energy in the world,” concluded Al Tayer.