Dubai Has Become An International Pioneer In The Clean And Renewable Energy Sector.

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HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO,Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

What are the latest technologies adopted by DEWA for energy production, transmission and distribution?

At Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), our strategies and plans are inspired by the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050. All our projects and initiatives are aligned with the federal and local strategies, including the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and Dubai Plan 2021. DEWA uses state of the art technologies in all its operations, and places innovation at the top of its priorities. This enables us to keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and supports the objectives of the UAE National Innovation Strategy. 

Through Digital DEWA, its digital arm, DEWA will disrupt the entire business of public utilities by becoming the world’s first digital utility to use autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage while expanding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital services. DEWA’s initiative within Dubai 10X has four pillars to deliver a new utility experience for Dubai and the world. The first pillar is launching advanced solar power technologies in Dubai; the second is deploying a renewable energy grid with innovative energy storage technologies that use advanced machine learning; the third includes expanding the use of integrated AI solutions to make Dubai the first city to provide AI-based electricity and water services. The fourth pillar is using connected technologies to provide round-the-clock world-class service-delivery for Dubai. DEWA launched a data hub named MORO to improve the UAE’s digital capabilities in developing smart city application and providing state-of-the-art innovative solutions.

DEWA has started Dubai 10X 2.0 to provide new services that inspire the world, and enhance Dubai’s position as a global capital for the green economy. It includes Green Airport as a Service, which will make Dubai the first city in the world to redefine the concept of sustainable airports by harnessing disruptive technologies and using solar power and waste energy, such as kinetic energy, energy resulting from sound, and wind from the movement of aircraft among other activities. Through the Green Road as a Service, DEWA is working with Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to implement this initiative to showcase the first integration between green energy and innovative future transport systems by harnessing disruptive technologies and using solar power and waste energy, among other activities. The initiative provides a new model for advanced methods that will be applied globally.

DEWA is planning to build an integrated smart grid to develop advanced infrastructure. Kindly tell us more about the same.

The Smart Grid is a key component of DEWA’s strategy to develop an advanced infrastructure that supports the Smart Dubai initiative. The Smart Grid includes programmes with investments of up to AED 7 billion that will be completed in the short, medium, and long-term until 2035. 

DEWA launched the Smart Applications through Smart Meters and Grids initiative in 2015. This is part of its efforts to achieve the Smart Dubai initiative, to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. DEWA’s initiative aims to develop an advanced infrastructure that supports Dubai’s efforts to become the happiest and smartest city in the world. In 2019, DEWA collaborated with international companies to install 250,000 additional smart meters across Dubai, bringing the total number of smart meters installed to approximately 1 million.

The project aims to provide a smart infrastructure for DEWA’s electricity and water networks, to ensure the speed of response to immediately reconnect in the event of any disruption; rationalise consumption via smart meters; and to monitor the details of consumption accurately, instantly and at any time, to enhance convenience and satisfaction levels of all citizens and residents, thereby bringing them happiness and supporting the resource sustainability. Smart grids come with advanced features such as automatic decision-making capabilities and interoperability across the electricity network. The outstanding features of smart meters are their flexibility and adaptability to various telecommunication technologies, whether wired or wireless, such as GPRS, RF, G3 PLC, and LPWAN among others. Smart meters use the wireless module.

What role does DEWA play in accelerating the growth of solar power across the Middle East and North Africa?

Dubai has become an international pioneer in the clean and renewable energy sector. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aims to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power output from clean resources by 2050. Dubai is the only city in the region to have launched such a promising strategy with set goals and timelines that map the future of energy until 2050. The strategy consists of five main pillars: infrastructure, legislation, funding, building capacities and skills, and having an environmentally friendly energy mix. 

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world. It uses the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model and will have investments totalling AED 50 billion. The capacity of the current projects at the Solar Park is 1,013MW. The total capacity of the five phases announced so far is 2,863MW and this will rise to 5,000 MW by 2030. DEWA has adopted the IPP model in the solar park’s projects to promote public-private partnerships.

The UAE’s interest in producing renewable energy has contributed to a reduction in its global cost. DEWA’s major projects in cooperation with the private sector, based on the IPP model, contribute to the economic growth of the Emirate.  Through this model, DEWA received the lowest global solar power prices five consecutive times, making Dubai a global model for solar power prices. DEWA achieved a world record by receiving the lowest bid of USD 1.6953 cents per kWh for the 900MW 5th phase of the solar park, using photovoltaic solar panels. DEWA has attracted around AED 35 billion in investments by using the IPP model, which strengthens public-private partnerships.

DEWA’s Research and Development (R&D) Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park contributes to building and localising knowledge and expertise. The Centre’s areas of work include solar power; the integration of smart grids; energy efficiency, and water, in addition to Fourth Industrial Revolution applications such as ‘3-D Printing and Additive Manufacturing’ as one of the innovative solutions to produce spare parts for electricity generation, transmission, and distribution divisions.

The R&D Centre, which covers 4,400 square metres, has various internal labs and outdoor labs to study the performance and reliability of photovoltaic panels. Key internal labs include the Electrical Characterisation Lab, the Mechanical Characterisation Lab, the Materials Characterisation Lab, the Solar Simulator Lab, and the Accelerated Aging Lab. The outdoor labs include testing different solar panel technologies and performance, as well as a safe zone for drone testing.

The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, aims to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power output from clean resources by 2050. How do you strategize to achieve the same?

Dubai has become an international pioneer in the clean and renewable energy sector. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar energy project in the world, is one of the key projects to achieve this vision and enhance the shift towards green economy by increasing the share of clean energy in Dubai’s energy mix. Since its launch, the solar park’s projects see considerable interest from international developers, reflecting the confidence of international investors in the projects that are supported by Dubai Government.

DEWA’s Shams Dubai initiative encourages building owners in Dubai to produce their energy needs using solar photovoltaic panels installed on rooftops and connecting them to DEWA’s grid as part of the Distributed Renewable Resources Generation programme. Shams Dubai has been very successful. By the end of 2019, a total of 5,620 sites were connected to DEWA’s grid, with a total capacity of 171.7MW. DEWA received applications for a total of 526MW. This means that everyone can generate clean energy from their premises in Dubai to create a brighter future, for generations to come.

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