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Sustainable Energy

Dubai has emerged as a regional leader and global player in the green energy business. The government is powering toward ambitious emission reduction targets, and it has continued to make […]

Dubai has emerged as a regional leader and global player in the green energy business. The government is powering toward ambitious emission reduction targets, and it has continued to make significant investments in renewables as part of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 (DIES 2030).

DIES, implemented in 2011, outlines the strategy to diversify and sustain the Emirate’s energy sector. The plan has set out directives to secure a sustainable energy supply and enhance the efficiency of water, power, and the transportation of fuel. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) currently purchases fuel from international markets, exposing it to external shocks and driving local initiatives to improve efficiency, lower costs, and diversify energy sources. The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE), the governing body tasked with energy policy development, planning, and coordinating, is responsible for executing the strategy.

DIES 2030 has set targets to increase the use of renewables and implement alternative sources of energy over the next two decades. In line with the strategy, natural gas will account for 85% of Dubai’s electrical energy by 2020, marking a 10% decrease on current figures. Clean coal will contribute 14%, and solar power 1%. By 2030, natural gas will contribute 71%, nuclear and clean coal 24%, and solar power 5%. The strategy also outlines a 30% emission reduction target by 2030.

Early in 2013, the DSCE announced it was holding a tender for the appointment of a specialist consultant to outline the Dubai Integrated Gas Strategy 2030. The consultant will be tasked with setting Dubai’s natural gas plan, which will be in line with the existing DIES 2030. The plan will deal with pipelines of liquefied and natural gas combined with underground storage and was be initiated in 2Q2013. The plan aims to introduce initiatives and policies to help meet Dubai’s increasing energy demands.

In line with energy diversification targets, the government previously announced that renewables would contribute 5% to the electricity supply by 2030. Diversification demands led to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park being announced under the DIES 2030. The solar park will produce more than 1,000 MW once completed by 2030, and will be spread across an area of 48 square kilometers at a cost of AED12 billion. The first project in the solar park will have 13 MW of capacity and be operational by the end of 2013.

In a joint venture, the British University in Dubai (BUiD), PTL Solar, and Solar Energy International established a new solar academy in Dubai in 2012. The academy was established in line with the Emirate’s focus on solar energy. The academy offers courses aimed at educating and training future regional leaders in energy sustainability.

State-owned Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE), founded by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy in partnership with the UN Development Programme, has been tasked with leading the drive to reduce emissions in the Emirate. Previously, the Dubai authorities had announced an ambitious target of cutting emissions by 30% by 2030. Dubai has targeted becoming the lowest carbon economy in the region.

The Green Building Regulations, launched in 2010, set fresh guidelines and specifications to regulate building standards and achieve greater efficiency in the use of electricity, water, and renewables. In line with the Green Building Regulations, the DSCE has reviewed electricity consumption and conservation through the implementation of green standards in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. The DSCE is currently studying best practices before releasing its policies.

In 2013, DEWA opened its sustainable building in Al Quoz, the largest government building in the world to secure a LEED Platinum rating for green buildings. The eco-friendly building reduces energy consumption by 66% and water consumption by 48%. The building was constructed under DEWA’s Green Buildings initiative.

Another green initiative is Enpark, a dedicated free zone for companies in the energy and environment sector. Enpark is a member of TECOM Investments’ Science Cluster located in Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech). The free zone is expected to contribute AED1 billion to GDP annually by 2014. In 2012, Enpark launched the ReVa Vending Machine, a product of an Enpark-registered company. Around 15 vending machines placed in TECOM Investments’ business parks enabled users to exchange plastic bottles and aluminum cans for rewards from the region’s premier loyalty program, Air Miles. The machines demonstrated how green initiatives could be incorporated into commercial zones. In the same year, Enpark won the 2012 UAE Green Brand Award for sustainability and innovation in the Gulf region.