Jul. 6, 2015

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

UAE, Dubai

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

Managing Director, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

TBY talks to HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), on activities in the Emirate, solar energy, and the increased demand generated by the upcoming Expo.


HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer is a veteran of almost 30 years in the fields of telecommunications, energy, and water. During his tenure as DEWA’s Managing Director & CEO since 1991, he has focused on network and infrastructure expansion. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, a member of the Government of Dubai’s Executive Council, Dubai’s Economic Council, Chairman of the Dubai Infrastructure Committee, Chairman of Empower, Chairman of the Dubai Nuclear Committee, a member of the Higher Committee of the Emirates National Grid, Vice-Chairman of Dubal, Vice Chairman of Emirates Global Aluminium, Director on Emirates Aluminium's (EMAL) Board, Vice-Chairman of EGA, Founder and Chairman of WETEX—the Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition, Chairman of the Dubai Global Energy Forum, and Vice Chairman of the High Committee for the World Energy Forum 2012, among other positions.

What role does DEWA play in Dubai today?

DEWA plays a major role in supporting Dubai's economic, social, and environmental development. Obviously, electricity and water are the key enablers of the economy in any country. This is why DEWA is fully aligned to the Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030. Both of these strategies are working to develop and diversify Dubai's energy economy, with a clear focus on sustainability and innovation, as demonstrated in our vision to become a sustainable and innovative world-class utility. DEWA is investing over $12 billion over the next five years on water and electricity infrastructure, renewable energy, smart grids, and transmission and distribution networks.

DEWA has awarded a contract to build a new 400kV substation for the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. What is the significance of this for the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify the energy mix by 2030?

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the largest renewable energy projects in the region. It will cover an area of 40 sqkm and generate 3,000 MW of clean energy when completed in 2030. The project supports the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, and is led by the directives of His Highness to enhance R&D in renewable energy. The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 aims to diversify the energy mix by 2030 to include 15% from solar power by 2030, in addition to reducing energy demand by 30%. DEWA awarded the $123 million contract in the third quarter of 2014 to build a 400kV substation to integrate power from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park. The gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) substation will enhance transmission capacity, boost power supplies, and strengthen the reliability of the grid. The 200 MW second phase of the solar park in Seih Al Dahal, near Dubai, is scheduled to commence production in 2017.

According to some experts, Dubai Expo 2020 will result in a growth in electricity demand of 4-6% per year. How is DEWA planning to face this growth of electricity demand?

In line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we have a clear strategy to support Dubai's efforts to host Expo 2020. Our strategy is fully aligned with the theme of World Expo 2020, which is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future," and the three sub-themes of sustainability, mobility, and opportunity. We are committed to fulfilling the promise of His Highness to host the best Expo the world has ever seen. DEWA is working hard to achieve this by focusing on preparing a distinguished infrastructure for energy that meets all the requirements for the sustainable development of Dubai. Expo 2020 is an opportunity to demonstrate to the world our competencies in the utility sector. DEWA is looking carefully at electricity demand growth and has a long-term plan in place to increase generation capacity and transmission infrastructure to manage future demand. The current system reserve margin is comfortable, with significant capacity demands also taken into consideration, especially in solar and clean coal, to achieve the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify Dubai's energy mix. We intend to use solar energy to produce electricity as a way to reduce the impact on the environment while also meeting the goals of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030. Around 7% of Dubai's total power output will be derived from solar power by 2020 and 15% by 2030. Over $707 million has been allocated to support electricity, water, and renewable energy infrastructure for Expo 2020. Projects include production, transmission, distribution, and smart grids. We are doing all of this so that Dubai will host the best Expo the world has ever seen.