GMIS 2021: UAE is becoming global success story in clean energy transition

Country is moving ahead with new projects as it aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, ENEC chief executive says

The UAE is becoming a global success story in the clean energy transition as a result of its policies and strategies, according to the managing director and chief executive of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

“In the UAE, we have our target and our clear path … to [achieve] net-zero by 2050. We are already at full speed with projects that will help us reach our goal,” Mohamed Al Hammadi said at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in Dubai on Monday.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, is developing numerous renewable energy projects as it aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. It 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.

“In 2012, we started building the nuclear reactor in the UAE and, as of today, we have one of the four reactors which are fully operational at Barakah. It is the single largest electricity generator in the Arab world and is also leading the largest decarbonisation effort of the industry in the region,” Mr Al Hammadi said.

The UAE is also building renewable energy projects to boost the supply of clean energy in the country, including the world’s largest solar plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. The two-gigawatt plant is expected to be fully operational next year.

Dubai is developing the 5GW Mohammed bin Rashid solar park as part of its strategy to derive three quarters of its total power capacity from clean sources by 2050.

“We are also into further applications of nuclear technology beyond power generation, such as hydrogen as a clean fuel of the future for industry and transportation,” he said.

The UAE is bullish on hydrogen and has been drawing up a comprehensive roadmap 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.

Adnoc is also going into partnership with Taqa to form a global renewable energy and green hydrogen venture that will have a generating capacity of 30GW by 2030.

"In the UAE, we have the combination of nuclear energy and renewable energy working hand in hand to provide clean electricity to decarbonise the power sector without compromising industrial growth and society and energy sustainability," Mr Al Hammadi said.

"We have also opened up a world of opportunities for industries of the UAE to make use of clean electricity, for sustainable growth."

Updated: November 22nd 2021, 2:38 PM