Saturday, March 6, 2021

Abu Dhabi has bold aspirations to diversify energy sources: DoE Chairman

ABU DHABI, 20th January, 2021 (WAM) — The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, said that the emirate’s investments in renewable energy has exceeded AED9 billion, and that it will continue to invest in renewable and clean energy in the future.

In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) as part of DoE’s participation in Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2021, which opened yesterday, Al Marar noted that Abu Dhabi is home to four major solar power plants: Shams 1, Masdar City Solar Photovoltaic Plant, Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) facility, and Noor Abu Dhabi Solar PV Plant – all part of the government’s strategy to diversify energy sources and utilise renewable energy to meet the growing power demand in the future.

Speaking about his department’s efforts, he said, “The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has bold aspirations to diversify the emirate’s energy sources, which would lead to economic diversification. This is in line with the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which targets an energy mix that combines renewable, nuclear, and clean energy to meet the growing demand for electricity and support the UAE’s economic requirements and environmental goals.

“The Strategy aims to increase consumption efficiency by 40 percent, to increase the contribution of clean and renewable energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent – 44 percent of which is from renewables and 6 percent is nuclear energy. Another key objective is to cut costs by AED700 billion by 2050, all while reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation by 70 percent over the next three decades.” “In Abu Dhabi, in particular, we are following this strategy to ensure sufficient energy and water supply and meet the growing demand for these essential resources in the future.

“In addition, we now have in Abu Dhabi many renewable and clean energy projects, most notably the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, the upcoming Al Dhafra Solar PV Power Plant, which will be one of the largest independent plants in the world for the production of electricity from solar energy, and the Al Taweelah desalination plant with reverse osmosis (RO) technology that will also be one of the largest of its kind in the world,” he added.

Commenting on how much the clean and renewable energy sector contribute to the total electricity production in Abu Dhabi, Al Marar explained, “In 2020, Abu Dhabi produced 2.16 million MWH of electricity from renewable energy sources, bringing the share of renewable energy in the total energy produced in the emirate to about 7.2 percent. This was due to the entry of the 117-MV Noor Abu Dhabi solar photovoltaic plant into operation late 2019.” He added, “When the 2GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic Independent Power Producer project is completed by 2022, it will bring the total solar power generation capacity in the emirate to 3.2GW, and if we add in the baseload nuclear energy expected upon full operation of the four nuclear reactors at the Barakah plant, we will be talking about 8.8GW of installed clean and renewable energy capacity within 3 to 4 years – that would represent more than 31 percent of the total energy mix in Abu Dhabi.” The Chairman went on to say that the Abu Dhabi Integrated Energy Model is effective in helping the sector achieve the objectives desired by the UAE leadership. “The Abu Dhabi Integrated Energy Model is a powerful strategic modelling tool that can process the Abu Dhabi energy sector’s data to generate a broad projection of the sector in the present and the upcoming 10 to 30 years, based on a set of possible scenarios,” Al Marar explained.

He added that the Abu Dhabi Integrated Energy Model embodies the DoE’s efforts to support the leadership’s vision and align with its plans, in line with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision. “This is achieved through promoting sustainable development, preserving natural resources, enhancing energy efficiency, and protecting the environment.

“Since its launch in 2019 during ADSW, we have been working with all partners, licensed companies, and relevant entities in the emirate to achieve the Model’s strategic objectives,” he said.

Al Marar also spoke about the role of digitisation in managing the energy sector in Abu Dhabi, saying the emirate’s infrastructure is capable of digitally converting most services, thus minimising the time and effort needed to efficiently complete transactions and provide water and electricity licenses, and other services.

“Digital transformation is a government approach across all sectors in Abu Dhabi, and the energy sector plays a great role in this integrated system,” he said.

“The energy sector in Abu Dhabi now has an integrated digital infrastructure capable of driving the digitisation of all customer services, making them easily accessible through authorised digital platforms in the emirate.” He continued, “The energy sector has set an example for smart transformation and in record time. The sector now offers 109 digital services across various government platforms, which represent 76.2 percent of the total services provided by the energy sector in the emirate.

“The Abu Dhabi energy sector’s digital services helped ensure business continuity while precautionary restrictions were implemented to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. Services could be accessed remotely on the digital platforms belonging to the sector’s various operating companies, in addition to the Abu Dhabi Government Services Platform ‘TAMM’.

“Implementing this digital system has undoubtedly had tremendous benefits. Not only did it reduce the time needed to avail services, but it has also had significant economic and environmental advantages, eliminating the need to print paper documents. Furthermore, this has helped ease pressure on service centres for licensed companies in the emirate.” Speaking on DoE’s participation in ADSW 2021, Al Marar said, “We are taking part in the event as a principal partner. In this edition, we are focusing on the exchange of expertise to benefit from modern technologies to promote clean and renewable energy and diversify Abu Dhabi’s energy mix. Technology also stands to enable the sector to ensure food and water security, as well as to support transportation and other vital sectors that are closely integrated with energy and sustainable development.

“We will also be focusing on using modern technology to ensure energy and water sustainability, rationalise consumption, capitalise on opportunities for international cooperation through the exchange of expertise, technology, knowledge, and best-practices.” Hosted by Masdar and running until Thursday, Jan 21st, 2021, ADSW 2021 is being held virtually this year, exploring through a series of high-level virtual events the social, economic and technological opportunities to achieve a ‘green recovery’ post COVID-19.

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