Power consumption in Dubai rises 10% in first half of 2021 as economy recovers

Strong rebound in demand from the commercial and residential sectors contributed to the growth, Dewa chief says

Power consumption in Dubai surged 10 per cent in the first half of the year compared with the previous year as demand picked up in the commercial and residential sectors in the emirate, according to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority's chief executive.

“Everybody is coming to Dubai and [demand from] the residential and commercial sector is increasing,” Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer told The National on the sidelines of Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (Wetex) in Dubai on Tuesday.

He also said the retail sector and food business are performing well amid a broader economic recovery in the emirate.

The economy of Dubai, the commercial and tourism hub of the Middle East, has bounced back strongly from a pandemic-driven slowdown that disrupted global trade flows and severely affected travel and tourism sectors last year, tipping the world economy into its worst recession since the 1930s.

Tourism and real estate sectors, which are key to Dubai's economy, have also recovered on the back of stimulus packages worth Dh7.1 billion ($1.93bn) provided to cushion the economic impact from the outbreak of Covid-19.

Mr Al Tayer did not disclose the exact consumption figures in megawatts but said “we are exceeding 9,400 megawatts”.

Dubai will continue to expand its power and water distribution network to feed the increased demand, the official said.

“For the next five years, we will have Dh86bn investment in power and water,” Mr Al Tayer said.

The emirate will also be focusing on developing hydrogen projects as the UAE seeks to increase its clean energy capacity.

Dubai is currently developing a hydrogen strategy, which is expected to finish in one year’s time and “after that we will put a roadmap provided that unit cost of hydrogen is competitive to solar”, Mr Al Tayer said, without revealing further details.

Hydrogen is rapidly emerging as a fuel of choice for many countries, which aim to use the clean fuel to reduce emissions. Globally, the size of the hydrogen industry is expected to hit $183bn by 2023, up from $129bn in 2017, according to Fitch Solutions.

French investment bank Natixis estimates that investment in hydrogen will exceed $300bn by 2030.

State entities Adnoc, Mubadala and ADQ formed an alliance this year to develop a hydrogen economy in the UAE.

Dubai will also be looking to develop new renewable energy projects as the emirate aims to derive three-quarters of its total power capacity from clean sources by 2050.

“The Mohammed bin Rashid solar park, it is a plan and is on schedule. Once we finish the project we will go to the next one.”

The solar project will have an installed capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2030 upon completion.

Dubai also aims to raise the share of renewables to 13 per cent of the energy mix before the end of the year from the existing 10 per cent.

Updated: October 5th 2021, 1:09 PM