Dubai harvests abundance of solar energy

DUBAI, 14th February 2015 (WAM) — The UAE aims to achieve a balance between development and the environment, and protects the rights of future generations to enjoy a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The nation, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, gives great importance to diversifying the energy mix.

The UAE’s green vision recognises that alternative energy is the energy of the future. Led by initiatives such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, the UAE continues to build renewable energy projects for the benefit of future generations. These projects set the ground for providing sustainable and clean energy for generations to come.

:: For generations to come.

These mega projects produce energy from renewable sources in the UAE, and will contribute in the long-term to the protection of the environment and its natural resources. The next generation will appreciate these efforts as we appreciate the efforts of our ancestors who paid great attention to conserving the environment while fostering development. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, placed great emphasis on environmental sustainability for the benefit of future generations. He observed: “Our forefathers lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do so because they recognised the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for succeeding generations.” :: DEWA’s sustainability efforts.

DEWA not only provides electricity and water services to its customers with the highest levels of efficiency, reliability and excellence, but places considerable attention to environmental sustainability and diversification of the energy mix to include renewable and clean energy. DEWA’s efforts in this field supports the long-term national Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to establish the UAE as a world leader in green economy and a centre for the export and re-export of green products and technologies. They also support the UAE Vision 2021, to make the UAE one of the leading countries in green economy, protect the environment and ensure a sustainable economic growth in the long term. DEWA’s initiatives support the Dubai Plan 2021 for Dubai to be a smart, integrated, connected city that sustainably manages its resources and has a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. DEWA’s efforts also support the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, launched by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy to diversify Dubai’s energy mix and reduce energy demand by 30% by 2030.

:: Harvesting solar power.

The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify energy sources had initially set the percentage of renewable energy in Dubai’s energy mix to be 1% by 2020, and 5% by 2030. But, as always, DEWA derives its vision from Dubai and is inspired by the strategy of its leadership, it is on the right path to double these percentages many times. At the World Future Energy Summit 2015 in 19-22 January 2015, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, announced that he had increased the percentage of renewable energy in Dubai’s energy mix to 7% by 2020 and 15% by 2030. DEWA also announced a new project based on the independent power producer (IPP) model to generate 500MW using photovoltaic panels in 2016.

Solar power is connected to DEWA’s grid has two forms. The first is DEWA’s solar power plants and the second is electricity produced from photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on rooftops of buildings and connected to the grid.

:: The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the largest renewable energy projects in the region. With a planned total cost of AED 12 billion, the Solar Park will produce 2,600 MW of electricity when completed in 2030, after increasing the percentage of renewable energy in Dubai’s energy mix. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the 13MW first phase of the solar park on 22 October 2013. The project is run and managed by DEWA. On the same day, phase two to produce 100MW was announced.

:: DEWA’s renewable energy initiatives exceed targets.

In January 2015, DEWA doubled the capacity of phase two of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park from 100MW to 200MW, which is based on the Independent Power Producer model. The consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA and Spain’s TSK was selected as a preferred bidder with the lowest price. The project is based on the IPP model. The project will reduce carbon emissions by 250,000 tonnes a year.

:: DEWA sets a new global standard in photovoltaic power.

The price DEWA managed to get for phase two of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has set a new world record in photovoltaic power projects. The price to produce 200MW of electricity is US 5.85 cents per kWh based on the IPP model. DEWA has succeeded in getting the lowest price globally, because of the confidence in DEWA and Dubai, and the legislations that protect the rights of all parties. This step will lead to more investments in renewable energy in Dubai, the region, and the world.

:: Connecting solar energy in houses and buildings.

To support the Smart Dubai initiative launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world, DEWA has launched three initiatives to contribute to realising this vision to manage all the city’s facilities through smart and connected systems that improve service quality. Now, DEWA’s customers can contribute to the diversification of energy sources by producing their share of renewable energy, and exporting the surplus to DEWA’s grid, through installing PV panels in houses and buildings to produce electricity. This encourages using renewable energy to produce electricity.

:: The Crown Prince’s resolution to accelerate renewable energy in Dubai.

To regulate connecting electricity produced from PV panels to the Power Distribution System in Dubai, the Executive Council issued resolution number (46) for 2014 to put in place a comprehensive framework at legislative level to connect electricity produced from solar power to the distribution system.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA praised the resolution issued by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

“This resolution underlines Dubai’s leadership in renewable and clean energy. It regulates installing PV panels to produce electricity in buildings and connect it with DEWA’s grid,” said Al Tayer.

“As we recently celebrated the seventh anniversary of the accession of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Crown Prince of Dubai, we remember his many initiatives, to achieve the prosperity and happiness of citizens, residents and visitors, and transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world. His latest initiative, Dubai Innovation Partners, introduces and develops innovative ideas and solutions in Dubai. The resolution to regulate the connection of electricity produced in buildings to the electricity network is an important step towards Dubai’s sustainability. It encourages individuals and organisations to produce electricity from solar power. This will contribute positively to the diversification of energy sources by increasing the percentage of renewable energy. It also protects the environment by reducing carbon emissions, preserving natural resources, and establishing the position of Dubai and the UAE as a global hub for renewable and clean energy, which is the basis for green economy that all countries want to achieve,” added Al Tayer.

The resolution defines DEWA’s responsibility in developing policy for the production of electricity from solar energy, and the adoption of binding agreement terms and models, and monitoring and supervising producers. The initiative allows customers to install systems to generate electricity using photovoltaic panels. An offset between exported and imported electricity units is conducted and the customer account is settled based on this offset. These systems can be used for lighting systems and electrical appliances. Customers can install PV systems as soon as they obtain the necessary licences.

DEWA will soon roll out the full initiative and all information will be provided under the smart initiatives section on its website. The information will include regulatory decisions and details of the application process as well as regulations for consultants and contractors engaged in installation of PV panels, manufacturers of panels and related equipment. DEWA has developed a programme for assigning consultants and contractors, in order to ensure a high level of security and efficiency.

:: Knowledge building and Emiratisation in renewable energy.

DEWA’s strategy is to build a pool of Emirati professionals, who are skilled in renewable energy, by launching various training programmes for students wishing to continue their studies in the UAE and abroad in various energy sectors. DEWA has launched a scholarship programme for undergraduate students abroad in renewable energy, as well as the DEWA Academy to develop UAE citizens in various technical disciplines. DEWA has also entered into agreements with international companies such as RWE and First Solar to train Emiratis in Europe and the United States, and promote the exchange of experiences and best practices.

The scholarships programmes provided by DEWA for high school students include: Bachelor of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in collaboration with United Arab Emirates University. This programme is offered to 20 students every year.

Intilaq Programme: Bachelor of Engineering (MechanicalElectrical) in various private and government universities and colleges. This programme is offered to 60 students every year.

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai (Dubai Men’s College). This programme is offered to 20 students every year.

Bachelor of Renewable Energy. This is an overseas programme, offered every year to ten students.

Innovation Centre: The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park includes an Innovation Centre. It is an interactive centre equipped with the latest renewable and clean energy technologies. It will help to train Emiratis in renewable energy, as well as foster the development of renewable energy technologies and support private sector development in the region, in addition to promoting Dubai’s economic competitiveness.

RandD Centre: The Solar Park’s Research and Development Centre conducts studies of industrial and social needs, and leadership in the scientific research related to renewable energy. It acts as a link between researchers and developers. It develops communication channels between local and international universities and research centres.

Solar Energy Testing Centre: The RandD Centre includes a PV and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) testing centre. RandD contributes in enhancing levels of reliability and endurance for PV panels in addition to reducing risks and uncertainties resulting from extreme weather conditions and long working periods, and better understanding the technologies that suit the environmental conditions of the region.