Abu Dhabi Energy Outlook 2050 launches as Cop28 begins

Partnerships key to investment in emerging technologies, emirate's department of energy says

Abu Dhabi announced its Climate Change Strategy for 2023-2027 in July. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has launched the Abu Dhabi Energy Outlook 2050 to map the emirate’s net-zero vision, coinciding with the start of the Cop28 climate conference.

The outlook highlights what Abu Dhabi’s transport, buildings, industry and power sectors might look like under policies and technology advances aimed at speeding up the pace of decarbonisation in all sectors until 2050, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said on Thursday.

It also aligns with the Cop28 Net-Zero Transition Charter, which aims to mobilise all sectors of the economy and society to commit to a national pledge of reducing carbon emissions and producing a credible net-zero transition plan.

“The scenarios outlined in the outlook – maintaining current policies, closing the gap for net zero in 2050, embracing a full technological shift paradigm – are designed to inspire sustainable change and shape the net-zero transition,” said Awaidha Al Marar, chairman of the department.

“The outlook shows that we can address the emissions gap, meet our net-zero 2050 targets and develop a climate-neutral economy … without sacrificing the prosperity of the state or the individual.”

Abu Dhabi 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 recorded in 2016.

Earlier this month, the emirate opened the two-gigawatt Al Dhafra solar power plant, one of the world's largest solar projects.

The project was developed by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa, in partnership with clean energy company Masdar, France’s EDF Renewables and China's Jinko Power.

It will power 200,000 homes and is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi's carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2.4 million tonnes a year, equivalent to removing about 470,000 cars from the road.

“We are already at 40 per cent renewable energy in Abu Dhabi. We are targeting 60 per cent clean electricity by 2035, and a carbon-neutral economy by 2050,” Mr Al Marar said.

“To achieve this kind of collective socio-economic change and climate action, at the emirate and national level, we have to bring everyone along with us.”

Mega solar power plant is inaugurated in Abu Dhabi

Mega solar power plant is inaugurated in Abu Dhabi

The UAE has been investing heavily in renewable energy projects and EV infrastructure to become carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

The country aims to allocate as much as Dh200 billion ($54 billion) to the renewable energy sector by 2030 as part of an updated energy strategy.

“Creating this kind of net-zero economy is hugely complex and, no doubt, the challenges we face will grow and evolve in line with our technological prowess,” Mr Al Marar said.

“Some will be beyond our control, such as global market access and supply of key technologies, while others can be directly mitigated by proactive policies and greater collaboration.”

The DoE said that partnerships would be key to investment in emerging technologies and introducing them at scale, according to the Department of Energy.

“Committing to ambitious policies, consistently choosing to invest in emerging technology and forging cross-sector collaborations to maximise the use of said technology is how we get there,” Mr Al Marar said.

The Cop28 presidency has called for a tripling of renewable energy capacity to 11,000 gigawatts and a doubling of energy efficiency by the end of the decade.

Updated: November 30, 2023, 9:00 AM