UAE’s renewables push for sustainability

The case to push for renewable energies has never been stronger before. The drop in prices of traditional energies such as oil, gas and coal, spurred unprecedented investments in clean energy, especially in 2015. Cheaper cost, driven by technology to produce the renewable energy, is a key factor to resort to the clean energy sector. Recent solar and wind auctions in some countries have ended with winning bids from companies to produce electricity at the cheapest rate. The price of batteries to store solar power when the sun isn’t shining is falling.
Generation of power from renewables will expand as the technology cuts the cost of those energy sources. The cost of producing power with photo-voltaic solar technology is competitive with electricity from natural gas.
Further, growing consciousness about adverse environmental effects of global warming is definitely pushing stakeholders to redouble their investments in renewables sector.
The results of the clean energy sector production are quite amazing. Since 2000, the amount of global electricity produced by solar power has doubled sevenfold. Even wind power, which was already established, doubled four times over the same period. For the first time, the two forms of renewable energies are beginning to compete head-to-head on price and annual investment.
It is clear that the oil and gas woes are not only driven by too high supply and little demand, but also by increasing trend towards alternative energies.
Given its huge oil reserve, the UAE has already begun to diversify its oil sector. The country is seeking to diversify its energy supply away from natural gas, which fuels most of its power plants, and plans to generate 24 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2021. Abu Dhabi saw the commissioning of the 100 MW Shams 1 CSP plant, the largest-ever renewable energy project in the Middle East, and Dubai inaugurated 13 MW of solar PV as the first phase of the eventually 1,000 MW Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. In August 2014, Dubai issued a tender for 100 MW of PV, also in the Park.
To enhance water desalination in the country, the UAE is also looking at solar power. In May 2014, Masdar signed contracts for four pilot projects that use highly energy-efficient membrane technologies to produce around 1,500 cubic metres of water per day. If successful, they will pave the way for renewable energy to power electricity-driven desalination at a large-scale.
Indeed, solar PV is increasingly seen as the most attractive technology in the UAE in the near-term due to cost and resource availability.
While focusing on the solar sector, the UAE has also commercial-quality wind resources along its Indian Ocean coastline in the emirate of Fujairah. In Abu Dhabi, Masdar has also explored resources on Sir Bani Yas Island and identified potential for roughly 30 MW. Masdar has been at the forefront of the UAE’s efforts to deploy clean energy at home and abroad, while driving sustainable economic growth, employment, innovation and prosperity. It has nearly 1.5 GW of renewable energy projects either in operation or under development globally. The portfolio of projects underlines the operational excellence at the heart of Masdar’s experience in the renewable energy industry. It has about 1.5 gigawatts of renewable energy power capacity including at plants in Abu Dhabi, the UK and Spain. In September, Masdar paid £525 million for a 35-percent stake in the Dudgeon wind farm off the UK’s Norfolk coast, while the company previously invested in the London Array offshore wind plant – the largest of its kind.
As an oil producer and exporter, the UAE expedites the use of solar and wind energies as effective means of balancing the global energy mix to achieve a sustainable and low carbon future.

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