HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and MD&CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has inaugurated the 2nd Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. DEWA has organised the competition as part of the partnership between the Supreme Council of Energy and DEWA with the US Department of Energy. SDME has attracted 8 teams from 12 universities from around the world, to design, build, and operate smart and sustainable solar-powered homes that are suited to the region’s climate.
The opening ceremony, held at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, was attended by HE Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary-General of The Executive Council of Dubai; HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Energy; HE Saif Humaid Al Falasi, CEO of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC); university presidents, professors, and students, and many officials from the public and private sectors.
“The UAE presents a global role model for empowering young people and involving them in shaping the future by encouraging them to make use of their potential and talents. The UAE has become a destination for innovators and creative minds from all over the world. Organising the first and second Solar Decathlon Middle East in Dubai supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to attract skilled and talented young people. Their exceptional minds are key components of the UAE’s preparation for the future. The competition also supports the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, to support young people who are the most valuable asset and the most important driver of development and innovation of solutions to challenges. Investing in their ideas and aspirations is the most effective investment to build the future,’ said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.
His Highness praised the local and international universities for encouraging their students to participate in the 2nd SDME. He also commended the students participating in the global competition for their intent to create solutions that promote the transition towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you to the opening of the 2nd Solar Decathlon Middle East. In 2018, we hosted the first SDME in line with our efforts to support the vision of our wise leadership, who attaches great importance to innovation as a forward-looking approach to develop sustainable solutions to the challenges facing humanity. Our leadership provides young people with opportunities to unleash their potential and encourages them to be creative; motivating them to develop innovative solutions that support global efforts to protect the planet from the effects of global warming, to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for our generations to come. Dubai is the first city to host the first and second biggest and most competitive competitions for international universities in the Middle East. This supports its commitment to sustainability, its pioneering role in shaping the future, its relentless support to efforts to combat climate change, and its role as an incubator for creativity and innovation, especially among young people. This SDME is particularly important as it is being organised in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai with its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. This event also coincides with the Year of the 50th where we celebrate 50 years since the establishment of the UAE. This year, the UAE has announced a strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, making the UAE the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to do so. Dubai has launched a strategy and roadmap to be a centre of excellence in the essential new technologies to achieve zero carbon emissions and reach 100% of clean energy by 2050,” said Al Tayer in his keynote speech.
“At DEWA, we support these efforts through major renewable and clean energy projects, most notably, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar power park in the world, with a planned capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030. We have launched pioneering projects to diversify Dubai’s clean energy mix. These include all available clean and renewable energy sources and technologies such as solar photovoltaic systems, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), green hydrogen production using solar power, pumped-storage water technology, and studying electricity generation from wind power, as well as other efforts made to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest and happiest city in the world,” added Al Tayer.
Al Tayer thanked the sponsors and partners of the 2nd SDME, as well as the professors, supervisors, judges, volunteers and everyone who has a role in organising this global prestigious competition.
After the ceremony, Al Tayer and senior officials toured the houses designed by the participating teams in the second SDME. These include Team KU of Khalifa University, UAE; Team Sharjah of University of Sharjah, UAE; Team Desert Phoenix of University of Louisville (USA), Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE), American University in Dubai, and American University in Sharjah; Team HARMONY of The British University in Dubai; Team ESTEEM of Heriot-Watt University, UK and Heriot-Watt University, Dubai; Team TAWAZUN of Manipal Academy of Higher Education Dubai Campus; Team Go Smart, University of Bahrain; Team SCUTxCCSIC of the South China University of Technology.
SDME encourages the university teams to design, build, and operate sustainable models of cost-effective and energy-efficient solar-powered homes, with a focus on protecting the environment, taking into consideration the climate of the region. The teams compete in 10 contests: architecture; engineering and building; energy management; energy efficiency; comfort conditions; house functioning; sustainable transport; sustainability; communications, and innovation.