The Business Year

Saif Saeed Al Qubaisi

UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

Conserve to Win

Acting Director General, Regulation & Supervision Bureau (RSB)

Bio

Saif Saeed Al Qubaisi has extensive experience as a leader in the water and electricity sector in the UAE, and has a proven track record in project management and sustained service delivery. He joined the firm from the Executive Council, where he held the position of Energy Affairs Director. Over the last 10 years, he has worked in various entities including the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), ALDAR properties, and Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company (TRANSCO). He holds an MBA and a BSc in Electrical Engineering. He also holds a Project Management Professional certificate and is a member of the UAE Society of Engineers, IEEE, and PMI.

TBY talks to Saif Saeed Al Qubaisi, Acting Director General of the Regulation & Supervision Bureau (RSB), on innovations taking place in the water and electricity sectors.

What are some of the current shifts and trends occurring in Abu Dhabi’s water, wastewater, and electricity sectors?

A huge amount of diversity and change is taking place. With electricity, we are seeing more renewable energy, more panels on roofs, and more involvement with customers—more focus is being put on conservation. There are many developments in the use of recycled water, particularly in the wastewater sector, where we have introduced a three-tap approach that seeks to direct large users to the best source of water for their needs. In this connection, the three taps are; ground water, drinking water, and recycled water. The more recycled water we can use and the more efficiently we use it, the less drinking water we have to produce in the beginning. The key themes of diversity and sustainability run through everything we are doing.

What are the goals behind the RSB’s Business Continuity Management regulations?

This is part of a much wider process the Abu Dhabi government has introduced in terms of planning requirements to ensure that, under any circumstances, business continues. For example, we have seven power plants in the Gulf waters producing drinking water using desalination technology. We have looked at the likelihood of incidents such as what would happen if these waters become heavily contaminated. In such a situation, we can supply all of our drinking water needs from Fujairah into Abu Dhabi. We have done that and tested the system and it works perfectly. We have also looked at things such as IT systems and if they would be prone to cyber attacks. In other words, we look at how to deal with worst-case scenarios for everything.

What are some of the findings of your feasibility studies on waste-to-energy (WtE) technology in Abu Dhabi?

Overall, we have a good understanding of WtE projects and have been working with deferent stockholders in studying these technologies. WtE incineration plants offer a reliable form of energy production and stop the release of dangerous gases ,such as methane, into the atmosphere. It is known as a carbon-neutral technology. However, in line with our conservation philosophy there are certain rules that apply to everyone in connection with waste. The first thing is to try not to produce much of it. The second is when you do produce waste, recycle as much as you can before burning it. The third is how you deal with the residue. The things you can’t recycle easily, such as rubber, plastic, and organic materials, are either burnt or are fed into anaerobic digestives for the organic materials. The average electricity unit costs are pretty competitive compared with other technologies.

What are some key features of the new Al Mirfa power and water plant, and how will it add value to the sector?

The Al Mirfa plant is probably the most complex and unique plant procured since the restructuring of the sector in 1999. Utilizing four unused plants from one of the Northern Emirates with a total capacity of 400MW and new gas and steam turbines, the station will have a combined output capacity 1,600MW.

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