EGA buys clean energy certificates for 1.1 million megawatt hours of electricity

The deal will help to certify the industrial company's production of about 80,000 tonnes of green aluminium

Emirates Global Aluminium is looking to decarbonise its operations. Photo: Mubadala
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Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE's largest industrial company outside the oil and gas sector, has purchased clean energy certificates for 1.1 million megawatt hours of electricity supplied by the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec).

The certificates track the use of solar power from Noor Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s largest single-site solar power plants.

The transaction will help to certify EGA’s production of about 80,000 tonnes of green aluminium, called CelestiAL, the company said on Thursday.

“This agreement provides EGA with a new source of certified solar power for the production of our CelestiAL solar aluminium,” said EGA chief executive Abdulnasser bin Kalban.

The UAE is the fifth-largest aluminium producing country in the world. EGA’s aluminium is the biggest made-in-the-UAE export after oil and gas, and is shipped to more than 50 countries.

The aluminium sector accounts for 1.5 per cent of the Emirates' economy, according to EGA.

Last year, EGA became the first company to produce aluminium commercially using solar power. It currently produces about 40,000 tonnes of CelestiAL, which is being supplied to car maker BMW.

Aluminium production is energy intensive and generating electricity accounts for about 60 per cent of the global aluminium industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Globally, about 55 per cent of the power consumed by the industry is self-generated rather than purchased from the grid, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Although total energy used in the aluminium sector has increased with production, the energy intensity of aluminium production since 2000 has declined significantly.

China, responsible for about half of the global production of the metal, is driving this trend, the Paris-based agency has said.

“CelestiAL and other low carbon metals [are] key to our sustainable future – both for our company and our world,” said Mr bin Kalban.

Overall, global aluminium demand is expected to increase by about 40 per cent to 119.5 million tonnes in 2030, driven by key industrial sectors such as transport, construction, packaging and electricals, according to a study by CRU International on behalf of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI).

Ewec owns and sells all clean energy certificates for solar and nuclear-generated electricity in Abu Dhabi, supporting the UAE’s climate change goals.

Clean energy certificates are tradeable digital certificates that verify the source from which a specific standard size of energy was generated.

The certificates, which are in units of one MWh each, conform to the International REC Standard, a tracking measure used around the world.

“Ewec is actively pursuing an ambitious energy transition plan, developing record-size solar power generation capacities to serve our current and future partners,” said Othman Ali, the company’s chief executive.

“We look forward to our continued collaboration with EGA and, together, playing a key role in the realisation of the UAE’s economic and sustainability agenda.”

The UAE plans to invest $160 billion in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.

It is building the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai with a five-gigawatt capacity. Abu Dhabi, which is developing a two-gigawatt solar plant in Al Dhafra region, has set a target of 5.6 gigawatts of solar PV capacity by 2026.

The Noor Abu Dhabi solar photovoltaic project was commissioned in November 2018 and began commercial operations in April 2019. It is owned and operated by a special-purpose vehicle, Sweihan PV Power Company.

The project sells its generated electricity to Ewec under a long-term take-or-pay power purchase agreement.

In 2017, the UAE launched its energy policy to boost clean energy and slash its dependence on natural gas to generate power.

The UAE Energy Plan 2050 aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 70 per cent, increase clean energy use by 50 per cent and improve energy efficiency by 40 per cent by the middle of the century, resulting in savings of about Dh700 billion ($190.6 billion).

Updated: November 24, 2022, 3:50 PM
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