Emirates Water and Electricity Company is targeting a 606 per cent rise in its solar power generation capacity by 2030 as the UAE pursues its target of achieving net zero by 2050.
The Abu Dhabi-based utility plans to increase its solar power capacity to 7.3 gigawatts by the end of the decade, the company said in its Statement of Future Capacity Requirements report on Wednesday.
The report forecasts the requirement for an additional three gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2029 on top of the 1.5 gigawatts procured from the Al Ajban Solar PV Project once it becomes operational in 2026.
The recommendations, approved by the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, call for continued investment in low-carbon intensive reverse osmosis water desalination technology.
This investment will enable more than 90 per cent of the total water demand to be fulfilled using reverse osmosis by 2030.
Reverse osmosis is a membrane-based method of desalination that uses less energy compared with the thermal process used to produce fresh water.
“This report provides a powerful key reference that outlines Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s future needs,” said Othman Al Ali, chief executive of Ewec.
“Our growing portfolio of renewable and clean energy projects is accelerating the decarbonisation of the country’s energy sector,” said Mr Al Ali.
The UAE is pursuing goals to reduce its carbon footprint and last year became the first country in the Middle East to set a net-zero target, which it aims to achieve by 2050.
The Emirates plans to invest $160 billion in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.
The Arab world’s second-largest economy and Opec's third-largest oil producer is prioritising the construction of clean energy plants to cut emissions.
It is building the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai with a five-gigawatt capacity and the two-gigawatt plant in Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi.
The report has also recommended acquiring at least 300 megawatts of battery capacity before 2026 to ensure the availability of operational reserves and other essential services that can enhance the system's operability and network stability, Ewec said.
These initiatives will reduce the company’s carbon dioxide intensity per kilowatt hour by 42 per cent by 2029, the report said.
Clean energy accounts for more than 60 per cent of the total power Ewec generates, the company said in December.
“Ewec is making tangible progress towards further diversifying the energy mix and increasing the share of renewable energy and low-carbon intensive RO to ensure a secure, sustainable, and least-cost supply of water and electricity across Abu Dhabi and beyond,” said Bruce Smith, strategy and planning executive director at Ewec.