UAE expected to add more than 50% renewables to grid by 2050

Abu Dhabi intends to generate half of its power requirements from clean energy sources by 2030

The Barakah nuclear power plant connected to the UAE grid for the first time last month. The National
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The UAE is expected to meet more than 50 per cent of its power needs from renewable sources by 2050 due to the addition of nuclear and solar power to grid, according to the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy.

The country had set a target to achieve at least half of its energy needs from clean energy sources by 2050.

"You will be surprised that we will exceed that [the current target],” Awaidha Al Marar told a panel discussion organised by Goals House as part of UN General Assembly virtual meetings.

He added that the UAE accounts for roughly 70 per cent of all renewable energy projects in the GCC.

"The UAE [is] either the second or the third ranking worldwide on investment in concentrated solar power plants,” he added.

The UAE accounts for 4 per cent of global crude output, much of it is from oilfields in Abu Dhabi. The country is diversifying its energy mix, adding solar and nuclear sources to its grid, as it looks to free up crude for export. Meanwhile, its capital Abu Dhabi intends to generate half of its power requirements from clean energy sources by 2030.

The UAE has also ramped up nationwide efforts to increase its renewable energy capacity at a time of record low oil prices. In April, a planned 2 gigawatts solar scheme in Abu Dhabi – the oil hub for the UAE – received the world's lowest tariff on the basis of levellised costs of electricity.

Emirates Water and Electricity Company, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, said it received a cost-competitive tariff for solar PV energy of 4.97 fils per kilowatt hour (1.35 US cents/kWh)

The Dhafrah project, which will be built through an independent power producer model, will cover an area of 20 square kilometres and could power 110,000 households across the UAE, according to Ewec.

IPPs are typically not owned by the state but they build and operate power plants for the sale of electricity to buyers, which could include a utility, the government or end users.

With the addition of the latest project to the grid, Abu Dhabi's total solar power generation capacity will stand at 3.2GW.

The UAE also connected Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant to grid, with the plant currently operating at 50 per cent capacity.

The power plant was connected to grid last month.

Mr Al Marar said the UAE was redoubling efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions as part of its commitments to UN Sustainability Development Goals.

"We've achieved affordable energy and water for 100 per cent. We've achieved almost 98.5 per cent with regard to fuel for cooking,” he told the panel.

"The issue of carbon dioxide, we are still on the border average. But I can tell you a good news that when the nuclear plant is fully operated and the new [solar plant] Al Dhafrah is in operation as well that will stabilise the carbon dioxide target emission,” he added.