DUBAI: The 6th IDEA International District Cooling Conference organised by the International District Energy Association (IDEA) and hosted by Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) opened today under the patronage H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, The event was attended by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) and Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, at Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Ahmed Butti Al Muhairbi, Secretary- General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Khamis Buamim, Chairman, Drydocks World and Maritime World & Group CEO, Hani Al Hamili, Secretary-General of the Dubai Economic Council (DEC), The Honorable Robert P. Waller, U.S. Consul General, Katrina Pielli, Senior Advisor for International Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies, U.S. Department of Energy (Washington, DC, USA), Eng. Fatima Alfoora Alshamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Clean Energy & Desalinated Water Affairs , United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy, Lily Riahi, Advisor on Sustainable Energy in Cities, Energy Branch, United Nations Environment Programme.
On day one, a US-UAE Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration in district cooling technology was signed between Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) and Empower, in the presence of The Honorable Robert P. Waller, U.S Consul General and Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director & CEO, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.
The MoU aims to exchange expertise in providing greater operational flexibility in conserving energy and water usage, particularly in regions of water scarcity.
Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower and General Conference Chair, said, “The MoU between Empower and JCI seeks a mutually beneficial approach to install, test, monitor, and optimize certain district cooling technologies in the UAE, while evaluating the environmental impact and energy efficiency, particularly in water-stressed regions of the Middle East and the Southwest of the United States.” Bin Shafar added: “Empower and JCI are active members of the International District Energy Association (IDEA) and this MoU aims at advancing more sustainable solutions in the district cooling industry through collaboration and demonstration of innovative technologies.” It was agreed to work together in the installation of a mutually-satisfactory demonstration project in Dubai, and development of industry best practices and operational guidance in water/energy saving technologies.
Bin Shafar said, “We agreed to collaborate on the exchange and development of best practices related to energy/water optimization technologies with the intent to enhance industry and government awareness of technical, industrial, environmental, and operational techniques.
On day one, there was wide admiration for the UAE’s leadership in setting a coherent vision for the future by continuously incorporating smart and sustainable technologies.
Bin Shafar stressed the important role played by conferences like this one to “ensure that we build our cities that are friendly to the environment.” Rob Thornton, President & CEO, IDEA said: “This conference acts as a support to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to educate government leaders across the Middle East and North Africa on the best practices of district cooling.” He added that , “The growth of district cooling in the world has played a critical role in improving the energy efficiency and decreasing water consumption for the major countries, most notably the UAE and the wider GCC States.” The conference called for increased investments in efficient cooling technologies and continuing innovations in reducing the carbon footprint.
“District cooling systems incorporate integrated structures that use up to 50% less energy than traditional air-conditioners,” emphasised Bin Shafar. “Because they use less energy, and thereby less fuel, district cooling technologies ultimately result in huge savings of carbon dioxide emissions, which is a top priority for UAE.” Bin Shafar said, “The global recognition of the UAE in the district cooling industry was endorsed by key participants from USA, Far East, Middle East and Europe.” Thornton added, “The trade exhibition accompanying the conference is serving as a platform for interaction with key players in the industry as well as open the door for visitors to keep abreast on latest district cooling solutions and products.” On the first day, there was an industry panel on “District Cooling – Cleaner Energy and Greener Cities” and a solutions-focused panel on “The Energy-Water Nexus”. Two other sessions were also held which focused on “The Customer as a Partner” and discuss “Technology Innovations & Solutions”.
The conference emphasised the specific advantages of greater deployment of district cooling systems as part of a Global District Energy Accelerator Programme, developed by the United Nations Environmental Programme.
Day one also included an Industry Leaders Panel: District Cooling – Cleaner Energy, Greener Cities where recognised international industry leaders discussed trends, strategies and opportunities in deploying modern, sustainable and energy efficient networks.