Roberto De Diego Arozamena

Roberto De Diego Arozamena

CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services (ALJ)
Xavier Joseph

Xavier Joseph

CEO, Veolia Middle East
Whether through local firms' keen awareness of best international practices or progressive policies already being pursued at home, firms in Dubai are racing to make the Emirate far more sustainable by 2021.

What are your broader goals?

ROBERTO DE DIEGO AROZAMENA Our overall strategy is concerned with the effects of our business on society. As part of our diversification strategy, we identified two areas that are key for us: energy and environmental services, which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, water desalination, and water treatment services. The growth of the population, especially in this region, drives an increase in the use of energy, and in certain areas climate change is creating a shift in the normal patterns of the availability of water. Therefore, water treatment and desalination are becoming far more important in supporting life in those countries. The downside of desalination is that it uses a huge amount of energy. Our teams are working aggressively on the coupling of renewable energy with desalination to be able to come up with a solution that is both economically viable and carbon neutral from an environmental standpoint. We are independent of technology and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), although we have our own engineering capabilities. That gives us the flexibility to select the most appropriate technology for any given project, without a conflict of interest in having investments in technology that we have to push through our development activity. Through our close relationship with MIT, we are aware of the latest technologies. We have a team focused on battery storage because the combination of battery storage and renewable energy is the future.

XAVIER JOSEPH We have succeeded in two fields of expertise for Veolia. The first is converting waste into energy. We have been awarded by the Dubai Municipality to convert gas released by the sludge of the wastewater treatment plant into power. The second is reinforcing our position as a regional leader for energy efficiency in buildings. We were awarded a contract to work on energy performance on a major leisure park and the Dubai Design District (D3). We are operating the technical facilities of the buildings within an energy savings commitment. It is a model to manage the building to commit to energy savings. This shows that clients acknowledge the technical know-how of this company. In addition, we will also be building a wastewater treatment plant and we will operate it for 10 years. As a rule we help ensure energy efficiency in both existing and new buildings. We have developed a concept of retrofitting existing ones in partnership with Etihad Esco, a subsidiary of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which has been set up to promote and develop energy savings in buildings, specifically public buildings. To make significant savings, companies need to at least change the sensors and have certain new equipment. Through those retrofitting processes, we are able to generate significant energy savings in existing buildings.

How is Dubai becoming more sustainable?

RDDA We are keen to participate in all the tendering processes and actively work to bring best practices from other parts of the world into Dubai. We participate in tenders for water and power in the region, and when we come up with a financially attractive proposition of a carbon neutral desalination process, Dubai will likely be one of the first places in the world where we propose this solution. Dubai has a vision and is excellent in translating this into ideas that is then sees through to execution. It is one of the places where new ideas come to fruition sooner than they would in other markets because there is a focus on getting things done.

XJ Dubai was the first Emirate to dedicate itself to energy efficiency in public buildings; however, it has since become a trend across the region. We have saved 26.4GW and 1.2 billion barrels of water in Jafza. It is a trend that is supported both by our private partners and the government. Now, countries across the region have set up a structured approach of monitoring electricity demand. When there is a global energy mix or global water mix, the monitoring of demand can represent a quarter of the production capacity.