UAE and Spain discuss boosting renewable energy capacity

Net-zero emissions can be achieved only through international collaboration, Cop28 President-designate says

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Cop28 President-designate, with Ignacio Galan, executive chairman of Iberdrola, in Madrid. Photo: Masdar
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Energy officials from the UAE and Spain have met in Madrid to discuss ways to increase renewable energy capacity and support net-zero goals.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, met Ignacio Galan, executive chairman of Iberdrola, in the Spanish capital this week.

“The world needs to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 if we are to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC within reach,” Dr Al Jaber said.

Dr Al Jaber, who is also the chairman of Abu Dhabi's clean energy company Masdar, said net-zero emissions could only be achieved through international collaboration.

“Both Masdar and Iberdrola have long and proud histories of advancing life-changing renewable energy projects around the world. Not only do these projects boost decarbonisation, but they also increase jobs and opportunities,” he said.

“This is exactly what is needed if we are to accelerate the energy transition, without leaving people behind.”

Established by Mubadala in 2006, Masdar has taken a leadership role in the global clean energy sector and has helped to drive the nation’s economic diversification and climate action agenda.

It is currently active in more than 40 countries and has invested or committed to invest in projects worth more than $30 billion.

Annual renewable power capacity must add an average of 1,000 gigawatts annually by 2030 to meet Paris Agreement goals, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Although global renewable capacity in the power sector grew by a record 300 gigawatts last year, the gap between actual progress and the development required to achieve long-term climate goals has continued to grow, the Abu Dhabi agency said in its World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 last month.

“Iberdrola has decades of experience in delivering the clean and secure energy model the world needs, investing more than €150 billion [$167.27 billion] in the transition over the last 20 years,” Mr Galan said.

“With another vital Cop summit approaching, and much work to be done to stay on track with the Paris Agreement, it is more important than ever that policymakers, and companies investing in energy, remain committed to boosting clean electrification through renewables, smarter grids and energy storage,” he said.

Iberdrola, with a market capitalisation of more than €71 billion ($79 billion), is the largest electricity utility in Europe and the second largest in the world.

The company, which has more than 40,000 megawatts of renewable capacity, plans to invest €47 billion between 2023 and 2025 in power grids and renewables.

In 2020, Masdar and Spain's Cepsa agreed to establish a joint venture to develop renewable energy projects in the Iberian Peninsula.

Spain’s 2050 objective for climate neutrality calls for renewables to provide 100 per cent of electricity and 97 per cent of the total energy mix.

Investment in renewable energy needs to double to more than $4 trillion by the end of the decade to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050, the International Energy Agency said in its World Energy Outlook last year.

The IEA’s Stated Policies Scenario, based on the latest policy settings worldwide, expects clean energy investment to rise to slightly more than $2 trillion by 2030.

Updated: July 13, 2023, 9:09 AM