Abu Dhabi's Department of Energy and China's Huawei on Tuesday signed a preliminary agreement to develop digital technologies that will help the emirate achieve carbon neutrality ahead of schedule and accelerate the digital transformation of the energy industry.
The agreement, signed at Gitex Global in Dubai, will strengthen research and development and help develop a road map to deploy intelligent applications in line with global practices.
"In light of the rapid developments brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we must strive to always be up-to-date, identify promising opportunities and potential challenges, and find innovative solutions to forecast the future of energy and expedite the transition towards clean and sustainable sources," said Mohammad Al Falasi, undersecretary at the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy.
Abu Dhabi is accelerating its transition to clean energy by tapping sustainable resources. Digitalising the power industry is vital to boost power generation and achieve sustainable goals. In August, the UAE's Barakah nuclear power plant started up its second unit, only four months after commercial operations began using the first reactor.
The DoE recently said that it will issue clean energy certificates, which is part of a new policy aimed at decarbonising the energy sector and will permit trading in renewable and nuclear energy attributes. It also streamlined tariffs for charging electric vehicles.
The UAE also became the first country in the Middle East and North Africa and only Gulf oil-exporting nation to make a public commitment towards becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
Jiawei Liu, chief executive of Huawei UAE, said that digital technologies will help Abu Dhabi achieve carbon neutrality ahead of schedule and accelerate its energy industry's digital transformation.
"Abu Dhabi wants to decarbonise its energy sector as part of national and global commitments. The key to achieving carbon neutrality is to build a new power system based on renewable energy, built upon digital and power electronics technologies," he told The National.
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is energy storage, Mr Liu said. Renewables such as solar and wind power can be unreliable because they are intermittent and fluctuate, so they must rely on energy storage systems.
Most storage systems are based on lithium batteries that often suffer from low capacity, short service life and potential safety hazards.
"This problem can be solved by leveraging controllable power electronics technologies to solve the uncontrollability and uncertainty of lithium batteries," Mr Liu said.
Abu Dhabi and Huawei will co-operate on various areas, including on information technology and security, as well as to develop a training programme for DoE employees. The agreement also calls for exploring prospects to expand the regulation of services provided to customers in Abu Dhabi, including smart metering, smart grid and mobile application development.
"The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy is always looking to facilitate co-operation with various local and international stakeholders, as well as to promote efficiency in the sector, which, in turn, would help fulfil our government’s vision and directives to support and develop key sectors, empowering them to achieve sustainable development," Mr Al Falasi said.
"To that end, we are always working to expand our network of partners, tap into all of our resources and embrace advanced technology to achieve our objectives."
Both parties will also work together to develop artificial intelligence solutions to analyse health, safety and environment incidents in the sector, as well as to assess performance based on available data to provide early warning for potential risks.
Sustainable energy solutions to address Abu Dhabi’s sustainability and energy and water efficiency agenda will also be developed.