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Abu Dhabi is the capital and the largest emirate. In common with other oil rich GCC nations, electricity production is subsidised and supplied to end users at less than the cost of generation. Currently, there is little renewable energy produced in the UAE but this will change once the Shams 1 solar project is operational expected to be As well as solar, the UAE is looking to nuclear as part of its drive to reduce its carbon footprint. The UAE has announced that it intends to produce 7 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by There are a number of motivations for this.
One is the availability of natural gas. Wood Mackenzie a UK -based energy consultant estimates that demand for natural gas will treble to 6 billion cubic feet a day by which means that, even with the supplies from the Dolphin gas project, the UAE will struggle to meet demand. Additionally, the UAE is keen to diversify its economy and sees the development and export of green technology as means of doing this.
It is claimed that, when complete, it will use 70 per cent less electricity and 60 per cent less water than a conventional city. The plant will consist of parabolic trough collectors stretching over an area of 2. The Abu Dhabi Government anticipates that the production costs of renewable energy will decrease, possibly to such a level that the green payment becomes redundant.
The planned plant will have a total capacity of 2, tons per annum of high quality solar-grade polysilicon product and is expected to start production in early In November , a feasibility study was in progress and potential sites for the project were under evaluation. The plant will use either photovoltaic or thermal solar technology. Construction is scheduled to commence in Analysis conducted by official UAE entities has concluded that national annual peak demand for electricity is likely to triple by , reflecting a cumulative annual growth rate of roughly 9 per cent from onward.
In evaluating different options to meet this demand, nuclear energy emerged as a proven, environmentally promising and commercially competitive option which could make a significant contribution to the UAE's economy and future energy security. It will also act as a government investment arm by making strategic investments in the nuclear sector, both domestically and internationally. It provides for the development of a system of licensing and control of nuclear material, as well as establishing the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation FANR.
The UAE has announced that it aims to produce 7 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by As part of Energy Vision , Abu Dhabi has finalised a new energy formula that will help develop an average price for the whole of its energy portfolio.
Abu Dhabi benefits from low cost energy sources, and consequently renewable energy will be comparatively expensive. Sultan Al Jaber has been reported as saying:. Low cost energy sources will help bring the renewable energy production cost down …. We are going to look at it with a holistic approach. We are setting a new model on how renewable energy production is actually being tackled and the cost of renewable energy production is being calculated. Abu Dhabi launched the Estidama initiative which is stated to make the Emirate the sustainability capital of the Middle East, by the implementation of a program for sustainable buildings and communities.
As part of the Estidama a new Abu Dhabi building code, the Code has been launched. The Code incorporates mandatory sustainable building principles. The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council has also introduced a rating system against which new buildings will be assessed.
The Green Code, jointly developed by DEWA and Dubai Municipality, sets out optional and mandatory regulations in order to make buildings in Dubai compatible with environmental requirements which include a set of factors such as site selection, efficient use of energy and water, indoor environmental quality, and waste management. These regulations aim generally at reducing electrical energy consumption, rationalising water consumption and the optimum use of renewable energy.
All these factors will contribute effectively in reducing gas emissions, reflecting positively on public health. The DCCE will be mainly responsible for the trading and sourcing of carbon credits, i. This will be vital for all local airlines traveling to Europe as they will need to offset carbon levels that are imposed on their European routes; rather than buying the carbon credits from the global trading market at significant margins, airlines can buy these credits from the DCCE at attractive rates.
Despite the critical role of oil and gas for the UAE , the country has made groundbreaking commitments in alternative energy. The UAE has long been an important supplier of energy and is now becoming an increasingly relevant consumer of energy as well.
Whilst Abu Dhabi in particular leads the GCC countries in relation to renewable energy initiatives, it does not benefit from a renewables regulatory framework. Last year, Abu Dhabi announced plans to develop an energy policy that would establish subsidies for renewable power, but it is still yet to materialise. Such subsidies for electricity produced from renewable energy are well-established in European countries such as Germany and Spain, and are referred to as feed-in tariffs.
It is important to note that in those jurisdictions the cost of funding such subsidies is borne by consumers. In comparison, grid operators across the GCC are constrained by legislative obligations to purchase power for the lowest price available from generators. Accordingly, the implementation of a regulatory regime providing for a fixed feed-in tariff will necessitate considerable time and cost in reviewing and amending energy legislation.
In addition, the introduction of a feed-in tariff runs other risks. If the electricity price is too low then developers will not build renewables projects and the government is in danger of not meeting its energy demands. If on the other hand the tariff is too high, developers will overbuild, putting a strain on government resources. This raises particular issues for GCC countries, where electricity consumers have benefited from long term heavily subsidised electricity prices, and accordingly transferring the burden to consumers in the form of higher electricity prices is not politically feasible.
Nevertheless, Abu Dhabi does have an established track record in bringing projects - in particular IWPPs - to market, with its power and water procurement model being recognised as the most bankable model in the GCC region. A programme for the delivery of energy from renewables sources based on the existing IWPP model used for the procurement of power and water with an individually negotiated green tariff payable may constitute a sustainable and appropriate strategy for a country wishing to development a significant if not large-scale renewable energy programme.
Online services, resources, and tools Technical resources Stay connected. Other current projects include the Shams 1 solar project and a hydrogen power project.
Sultan Al Jaber has been reported as saying: Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest legal news, information and events