GOING GREENS

Ras Al Khaimah 2018 | GREEN ECONOMY | FOCUS: ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY STRATEGY

Energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives have steadily gained momentum throughout the UAE, and the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has been integral in achieving some of the federal goals.

With goals to reduce its carbon footprint and bolster self-sufficiency for its energy needs, the UAE has set in place an ambitious plan that aims to increase the contribution of clean energy to 50% of its energy mix and reduce consumption by 40% by 2050.
The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is working in line with these national targets. In particular, Ras Al Khaimah has recently launched initiatives aimed at achieving both sustainability and economic growth objectives within the Emirate, recognizing sustainability as a driving force of its rapidly growing economy.
In 2017, the government of Ras Al Khaimah established the Energy Efficiency and Renewables (EE&R) Office. The office, in collaboration with other key government stakeholders, has developed a long term strategy (EE&R Strategy 2040) that complements federal initiatives, beginning in 2018 with the launch of several pilot projects and the formulation of various regulations.
The EE&R Strategy 2040 aims to change the structure of the Emirate's energy supply by increasing the share of renewables to 20-25% by 2040 while reducing consumption by 25-30%. It consists of nine strategic programs that will be executed by “Program Owner" government entities, including the RAK Municipality Department, the Public Services Department, the RAK Investment and Development Office (RAK IDO), the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA), and ESMA, with support from the EE&R Office.
The first seven programs of the EE&R Strategy 2040 aim to reduce consumption substantially, while the remaining two programs target energy generation through sustainable means. The first program, to implement green building regulations, is a priority project for Ras Al Khaimah given the large number of ongoing and planned real estate developments in the Emirate. The second program is a building retrofit program that is expected to reduce energy and water consumption of selected, existing buildings.
Although the population of Ras Al Khaimah is relatively small, it is home to a growing, energy-intensive industrial sector. The third program of the EE&R Strategy 2040 targets a reduction of 10% in industrial energy consumption, which currently stands at 40-45% of the Emirate's total 5.3 terawatt hour consumption through the implementation of best practices of energy management.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth programs will reduce consumption through efficient appliances, smart and efficient street lighting, and water reuse and efficient irrigation projects respectively.
Changing the composition of its energy supply requires the cooperation of FEWA, from which Ras Al Khaimah currently receives the majority of its electricity. Therefore, the seventh program, which aims to implement solar energy, has been conceived as a collaborative effort with FEWA, starting with the development of net-metering regulations, which would allow integration of solar rooftop generation into the FEWA grid. Anticipating the issuance of these new regulations, some pilot solar rooftop projects have already been completed.
Utico Middle East, based in the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, is currently working on a solar power and water desalination plant in the Emirate which is expected to generate 40MW of energy for sale. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, will reduce reliance on natural gas as well as the cost of utilities.
Similarly, the eighth program under the EE&R Strategy 2040—to develop waste to energy initiatives—complements ongoing federal efforts. The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working with energy company Masdar and Bee'ah to develop waste-to-energy (WtE) conversion facilities in Ras Al Khaimah. The construction of the WtE plant forms part of the federal goal of diverting 75% of municipal solid waste away from landfills, in line with UAE Vision 2021.
Finally, the Emirate also aims to reduce emissions through an efficient vehicle program, encouraging the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles through enhanced policy and regulations.