Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) supports the UAE’s efforts to meet its global responsibilities to tackle climate change. Dubai is doing this by increasing its share of clean and renewable energy in its energy mix, communicating the importance of electricity and water conservation, and conserving its natural resources.
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, said that the UAE played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement, by presenting nationally-determined contributions as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UAE leads international efforts in clean and renewable energy by planning and investing in it. The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 intends to achieve an energy mix that combines renewable and clean energy sources to balance economic requirements and environmental goals. Al Tayer said that the UAE’s hosting of the Regional Climate Dialogue is a new reflection of its role in fighting climate change, the commitment to focusing on climate change as an issue, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. The event comes amid extraordinary circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need to merge international efforts to accelerate recovery, find smart and sustainable solutions to mitigate climate change effects.
“DEWA works to achieving the wise leadership’s vision, by balancing economic development with preserving a clean, healthy and safe environment. DEWA was one of the first government utilities in the UAE to join the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in 2017, the world’s greatest corporate sustainability initiative. DEWA’s efforts have contributed to reducing the net carbon emissions in Dubai by 22% in 2019, two years ahead of the target of the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 to reduce 16% of carbon emissions by 2021. DEWA is committed to achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide 7% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2020 and 75% by 2050. Today, the percentage of clean energy in Dubai’s energy mix is about 9%, exceeding the percentage set in the strategy,” said Al Tayer.
DEWA’s current strategic projects in clean and renewable energy include the 4th phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world with a planned capacity of 5,000MW in 2030. On its completion, the Solar Park will reduce 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions a year. The 950MW 4th phase uses both Concentrated Solar Power and photovoltaic technologies and will have the largest thermal energy storage capacity in the world. DEWA is also implementing the 900MW 5th phase of the solar park with photovoltaic solar panels, as well as the 250MW pumped-storage power station in Hatta, which is the first of its kind in the region. In 2020, DEWA inaugurated major solar power projects, including the 800MW 3rd phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. We also inaugurated the Innovation Centre and the Research & Development Centre in the solar park. Both projects will contribute to promoting the UAE’s position in clean and renewable energy.
In collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai and Siemens, DEWA is implementing the Green Hydrogen project, the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa. The project is implemented at the outdoor testing facilities of DEWA’s R&D Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. In 2014, DEWA launched the Shams Dubai initiative to encourage building owners to install solar photovoltaic panels to generate solar power and connect it to DEWA’s grid. This is part of its efforts to promote the installation of solar photovoltaic panels in all Dubai buildings by 2030, in accordance with the Smart Dubai initiative launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. Until mid-March 2021, 6,717 solar photovoltaic energy systems have been connected to DEWA’s grid with a total capacity of 297 MW across residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. DEWA’s Green Charger initiative encourages individuals to own elective vehicles and increase the number of hybrid and electric vehicles in the Emirate. DEWA has installed about 300 electric vehicle charging stations across the Emirate.
The World Green Economy Summit
DEWA and the World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO) organise the World Green Economy Summit. The Summit focuses on three main pillars: sustainable development, international cooperation towards a green economy system and adoption of innovative green solutions across varied sectors. The 6th World Green Economy Summit (WGES) in 2019 attracted local and international VIPs, including presidents and government leaders, in addition to a large number of speakers, officials, representatives of government organisations, media professionals, experts, and academics. The 7th WGES will be held in October 2021 at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
World Green Economy Organisation
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the World Green Economy Organisation in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in October 2016 during the World Green Economy Summit in Dubai, to enhance the transition to a green economy and the dissemination of green economy projects at a global level, as well as support countries and organisations seeking to achieve their strategies and green plans. The World Green Economy Organisation and the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) will host the ‘MENA Climate Week 2022’, in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Climate Change, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the World Bank Group. The UAE will be hosting this first of its kind event in the Middle East and North Africa from 2 to March 3, 2022, on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai. The event will highlight the urgency of addressing climate change and current global development challenges.
The MENA Climate Week will convene leaders from the government, private sector, and civil society to discuss the serious threat of climate change, and collaborate on swift, bold actions to address this challenge. The event offers a wealth of opportunities for collaboration and showcase ground-breaking technologies that can help the region adapt to climate change.
Stakeholders have a unique opportunity to reflect and revise climate their country’s action plans to effectively address societal, environmental, and economic impacts. Participants will also be able to follow up on the discussions raised during the 26th Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021 in Glasgow, UK.
The Emirates Energy Award
The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has launched the Emirates Energy Award, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to encourage individual innovators and business organisations in MENA to rationalise energy and resources. The award highlights the best practices and pioneering works in energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental conservation.
Green Cities and Buildings
In 2019, DEWA ensured a global achievement as Dubai received the Platinum Rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Cities certification awarded by the US Green Building Council. Dubai is the first city in the Middle East and North Africa to receive this prestigious certification. DEWA’s efforts to adopt green buildings have been crowned with winning two awards in 2020. These are the Net Zero Building Project of the Year for its Innovation Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park; and the Sustainable Design Project of the Year for its new headquarters’ Al Shera’a.
DEWA’s major projects in cooperation with the private sector, based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, contribute to the economic growth of the Emirate. Through this model, DEWA received the lowest global solar power prices five times in a row, making Dubai a global benchmark for solar power prices. DEWA has attracted investments of around AED 40 billion from the IPP model.
Preparing the next generation of sustainability leaders
DEWA works to engage young people in sustainable development and encouraging them to develop innovative solutions to counter climate change. DEWA Academy is a fundamental part of DEWA’s strategy to shift Dubai’s energy sector to a new stage of growth and progress. This is done by investing in young minds and preparing a generation of young Emiratis that realises the importance of vocational work and the nation’s interest. DEWA’s R&D Centre builds and localises knowledge and experience in its different work areas such as producing electricity from solar power and clean energy as well as other clean energy technologies; the integration of smart grids; energy efficiency, and water, Fourth Industrial Revolution applications in R&D. DEWA also organised the first Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) for universities in 2018 to design solar-powered homes. This is part of an agreement between DEWA, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the US Department of Energy. A number of universities have been shortlisted for the second SDME.
DEWA’s efforts in raising awareness on adopting a sustainable lifestyle have resulted in significant savings over the past years. The conservation programmes and initiatives launched by DEWA have achieved cumulative savings of 2.44 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity and 6.7 billion gallons of water between 2011 and 2020. This is equivalent to saving AED 1.35 billion and reducing 1.22 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
In recognition of its efforts in sustainability, DEWA received several local and international prestigious awards, including the European Foundation for Quality Management’s UN Sustainable Development Goals Challenge 2021. DEWA completely eliminated its paper use and received the 100% Paperless Stamp from Smart Dubai. DEWA’s adoption of the latest technologies has helped it to prevent using over 22 million pieces of paper in 2020. This made financial savings of over AED 85 million, as well as saving 2,700 trees that would have been used to produce this. DEWA also works to increase the efficiency of its power and water plants. It has recorded one of the lowest water losses in the world of 5.1%. We continue to innovate unique experiences that support Dubai’s progress in shaping the future by reworking the traditional concepts of work mechanisms to match rapid global changes. Al Tayer won 3G Personality of the Year for Good Governance and Sustainability at the Global Good Governance Awards 2020, organised annually by Cambridge IFA in the UK.