The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation is set to produce 85 per cent of Abu Dhabi's clean electricity by 2025 in line with the UAE's pivot towards green energy projects, its chief executive has said.
The Barakah nuclear power plant also has the potential to generate one million tonnes of hydrogen per year, Mohamed Al Hammadi told the Gulf Intelligence UAE energy forum on Wednesday.
“In the UAE we have a proactive and science-based approach to energy policy that has enabled the country to lead the way and towards a sustainable energy future,” Mr Al Hammadi said.
“We were the first in the region to sign the Paris Agreement in 2016 and recently became the first Opec nation to commit to achieving net-zero by 2050.”
The UAE plans to invest $160 billion over the next three decades to accelerate clean energy development. The country is building world’s largest solar plant in Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi as well as other projects in Dubai.
The Emirates also recently completed the construction of Unit 3 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the Arab world’s first multi-unit operating nuclear energy plant.
Unit 1 of the plant is already fully operational and Unit 2 was recently connected to the main grid and continues to undergo testing.
“This is only the beginning. The potential for clean energy moving forward is wide reaching and the role of nuclear and renewable is instrumental in this, with the UAE showing the way towards the cleaner future,” Mr Al Hammadi said.
Four units of the nuclear plant have the potential to generate about one million tonnes of hydrogen per year, he said.
“At the same time, the oil and gas industry is also playing an important and crucial role in the generation of hydrogen, with plans of expansions to generate hydrogen through the carbon capture, usage and storage are already under way," Mr Al Hammadi said.
The new developments “illustrate how both the nuclear and the oil and gas sector are working together to put the UAE on the path to becoming a key player in green hydrogen generation”.
The UAE, the Arab world's second largest economy, is bullish on hydrogen and has been drawing up a comprehensive road map to position itself as an exporter of clean fuel and tap into its future potential.
In January, Adnoc, Mubadala and ADQ formed an alliance to develop a hydrogen economy in the country, focusing on low-carbon green and blue hydrogen as part of the Emirates' continued energy diversification efforts.
Last December, Adnoc and Taqa said they would join Mubadala Investment Company to become shareholders in Masdar, which will help boost the clean energy company's renewable power capacity to more than 50 gigawatts by 2030.
Hydrogen comes in various forms including blue, green and grey. Blue and grey hydrogen are produced from natural gas, while green hydrogen is derived from renewable sources.
Globally, the hydrogen project pipeline has grown seven-fold since December 2020 as the world focuses on energy transition, a recent study by Wood Mackenzie found.