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Dubai’s electricity and water authority (DEWA) announced on Tuesday the emirate is working on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project which will generate 1,000MW electricity by 2030, and become one of the biggest solar parks in the region after completion.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), said in his speech at the MENA Renewable Energy Forum being held in Dubai that this will make a substantial contribution to Dubai’s future energy needs, adding that the first phase of 13 MW solar PV plant will be in operation before the end of 2013.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced in January 2012 the launch of a long-term national initiative to build a green economy in the UAE entitled, ‘Green Economy for Sustainable Development,’ which seeks to enhance the country’s competitiveness and sustainability of its development, and preserve its environment,” said Al Tayer.

The top Dubai energy official said that the council developed Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 in 2010, and started its implementation in January 2011.

“This strategy is driven by our vision to make Dubai a role model to the world in energy security and efficiency. Accordingly, the mission is to support Dubai’s economic growth, through a secure supply of energy and efficient energy usage, while meeting environmental and sustainability objectives,” he said.

Al Tayer said that by 2030, Dubai’s average energy growth is projected to be in the range of 4-5% per year and the aim under the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 is to reduce energy consumption by 30% through the implementation of enhanced energy-efficient initiatives which include a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Currently, the combined power generation and desalinated water production in Dubai are most-efficiently produced using natural gas and LNG as the primary fuel (99%), supplemented by liquid fuel and diesel oil as a secondary fuel (1%).

“As per the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy, by 2030 Dubai will have diversified its fuel mix by adding new energy sources such as 12% from clean coal, 5% from renewable energy including solar power, 12% from nuclear power and 71% from gas,” the DEWA chief added.

He said that while the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is rich in hydrocarbon resources, the increase in population and electricity consumption as well as climate change is increasing concerns over the future security of energy sources.

Global fossil fuel energy consumption rate is around 80% of global total energy consumption. Energy consumption research indicates that the Middle East has over half of the world’s proven oil reserves, and over one-third of the world’s natural gas reserves. As a consequence, gas and oil are the primary fuel sources currently for power generation and water desalination, with a very minor contribution from renewable energy.

“In addition, we have identified that distributed rooftop solar power sources can make a practical contribution to Dubai’s power needs in the order of 20% or around 2,500MW by 2030. Technical, commercial and legal frameworks are currently being put in place to facilitate the integration of solar power. Small scale applications of solar are in use in Dubai, such as in commercial and industrial buildings, street lights and so forth. Recently, DEWA has constructed a building where over 25 per cent of its electricity needs are managed by solar energy,” Al Tayer underlined in his speech at the energy forum.

“We at Dewa share the same goals as the rest of the world to secure a diverse and sustainable energy supply, through the integration of renewable energy into our energy mix, rationalisation of consumption and reduction of our carbon footprint,” the Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) managing director concluded.

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