Abu Dhabi Department of Energy confirms plans to support UAE’s ambitious Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative

ABU DHABI, The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy today confirmed key sector initiatives over the next decade to help accelerate the UAE’s sustainable economic growth while supporting its ambitious Net Zero By 2050 Strategic Initiative, during COP26 in Glasgow.

The DoE outlined nine existing and planned projects focused on clean energy generation from solar and nuclear sources, electrification of the water production system through reverse osmosis (RO) technology and enabling policies and energy efficiency measures. When combined they can reduce emissions associated with power generation and water production by at least 50 percent in the next 10 years.

Eng. Awaidha Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, said, “Building on a 15-year track record of climate innovation and the UAE’s enduring support for the Paris Climate Agreement, our commitment is underpinned by a strategic shift to low-carbon technologies with large-scale investment in solar and nuclear energy to drive down emissions. For instance, Abu Dhabi has developed a world-class sustainability investment vehicle through the launch of Masdar City in 2008 as one of the world’s first carbon-neutral developments. Since then, we have taken the lead regionally in deploying renewable energy.

“Our 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi Solar PV plant has increased the share of renewables in our energy mix to six percent of the emirate’s total installed capacity in 2021, and the launch of the first reactor of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in 2020 has also increased the share of carbon-free energy production in the emirate’s energy mix to 7 percent in 2021.

“With more upcoming renewable deployments like Abu Dhabi’s 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project due by 2023, as well as the baseload nuclear energy expected upon full operation of the Barakah plant, the total clean power generation capacity in the emirate will reach 8.8GW in 2025. That increases the share of clean energy capacity in the energy mix to 31 percent by 2025 from 13 percent in 2021.”

Al Marar added, “With these solar and nuclear projects, it could influence electricity generation by 2025 to be seven percent produced from solar PV sources and 47 percent from nuclear power.

“This means 55 percent of Abu Dhabi’s electricity in 2025 will be generated from clean sources and can cut power generation emissions from 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020 to approximately 20 million tonnes in 2025.”

The DoE is a partner of the whole-of-country, whole-of-government UAE Net Zero by 2050 Initiative led by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment which reflects the “Principles of the 50” – the UAE’s roadmap for accelerating development that was launched in September to mark the country’s Golden Jubilee.

The UAE Initiative comprises key existing and planned projects from Abu Dhabi’s energy sector that could drive total emission reductions of more than 29 million tonnes per year by 2030. These include: Noor Abu Dhabi Solar PV plant projected to avoid up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year Barakah Nuclear Power Plant to avoid 21 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year Al Dhafra 2GW Single Site Solar PV Plant which could reduce 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions Two additional solar projects with a combined capacity of 2GW and potential to avoid 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions Two waste-to-energy plants in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are expected to help reduce 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Additionally, Abu Dhabi is contributing a new planned water production electrification project to support the energy transition and ensure that the UAE Net Zero ambition becomes a reality in the future.

Commenting on the importance of decarbonising the water sector, Al Marar said, “Water is a vital resource and a national priority to cover the present and future water demands of our population, maintain our food security, and sustain our economic growth.

“Four of our current desalination plants in Abu Dhabi utilise RO technology and represent 24 percent of the emirate’s desalinated water production in 2021. This share is expected to grow to 43 percent by 2025 as new RO projects are implemented including the Al Taweelah RO desalination facility which is expected to be the largest in the world with a combined production capacity of 200 MIGD and the potential to avoid 1.2 million CO2 emissions per year.

“Additional RO projects through 2030 with an approximate total capacity of 680 million gallons per day are expected to increase the share of RO in Abu Dhabi’s total water production to 80 percent and reduce four million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.”

The UAE Net Zero Strategic Initiative also outlines a package of proposals to make the UAE’s energy, environment, industry, and transportation policies fit for enabling the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade.

A notable initiative in this regard is the Abu Dhabi Demand Side Management and Energy Rationalisation Strategy which DoE designed to address supply and demand issues through a nine-programme multi-stakeholder approach. It aims to reduce electricity consumption by 22 percent and water consumption by 32 percent by 2030.

The strategic implementation could avoid the emission of more than 9 mt of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere – the equivalent of removing 1.5 million vehicles from the road for an entire year.

Between 2019 and 2020 Abu Dhabi’s DSM initiatives have contributed to achieving 6,183 GWh of cumulative annual electricity savings and 230 Mm3 of annual water savings, which represent short-term costs savings in the order of AED1.1 billion, avoiding the emission of approximately 3.2 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Today, the DoE announcement highlights the UAE’s track record and ambition in progressive climate action as the country extends its offer to host COP28 in Abu Dhabi in 2023. The UAE is offering to host the 28th edition of the UN Climate Change Conference.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Top