UAE's clean energy milestones: path to net zero

The country approved an updated energy strategy in July

The Noor Abu Dhabi solar PV plant. Photo: Abu Dhabi Department of Energy
Powered by automated translation

The UAE, the Arab world's second-largest economy, has been investing heavily in renewable energy projects to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The UAE, host of the Cop28 climate conference beginning in November, approved an updated version of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy in July.

As part of the plan, the UAE plans to invest Dh200 billion ($54 billion) by 2030 to ensure energy demand is met while sustaining economic growth.

Meanwhile, the emirate of Abu Dhabi also announced its Climate Change Strategy for 2023-2027 in July. It aims to reduce emissions by 30 million tonnes by 2027, from 135 million tonnes in 2016.

Some of the major clean energy projects the UAE is developing include the Barakah nuclear plant, a two-gigawatt solar plant in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region, and the five-gigawatt Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

The Al Dhafra plant is expected to mitigate 2.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, while the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum park will reduce 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year when complete.

The UAE has also announced geothermal and wind energy projects.

The region's first wind turbine was installed on Abu Dhabi's Sir Bani Yas Island. The 65 metre-tall turbine has a capacity of 850 kilowatts an hour.

Last month, Adnoc and the National Central Cooling Company, better known as Tabreed, announced the first project in the Gulf region to harness geothermal energy. The project is expected to meet 10 per cent of Masdar City's cooling requirements.

Abu Dhabi-based clean energy company Masdar, at the heart of the UAE's efforts to achieve net-zero emissions, aims to expand its capacity to at least 100 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.

The company operates in more than 40 countries and has invested in or committed investments to projects worth more than $30 billion. It is also targeting green hydrogen production of one million tonnes per annum by 2030.

Investment in clean energy is set to hit $1.7 trillion this year, outpacing spending on fossil fuels, as countries look to address potential energy shortages, according to the International Energy Agency.

However, renewable energy investment needs to double to more than $4 trillion by 2030 to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050, the agency said in its World Energy Outlook last year.

UAE renewable energy milestones
Updated: September 19, 2023, 4:00 AM