The global energy transition is “front and centre” for the Emirates, which will help make a “concentrated push” to boost clean energy capacity around the globe, Suhail Al Mazrouei said at a meeting of the International Solar Alliance in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The Emirates, the Arab world's second-largest economy, is investing heavily in clean energy projects and has announced several initiatives as it seeks to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
This month, the Cabinet approved the updated version of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy.
Under the updated objectives of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, the country will invest Dh200 billion ($54 billion) by 2030 to ensure energy demand is met while sustaining economic growth.
The new strategies will position the UAE at the “forefront” of the global energy transition while helping the country to slash carbon emissions by 40 per cent by the end of the decade, Mr Al Mazrouei said.
“The UAE sees … solar as an integral element in our response to climate change,” he said.
The UAE is developing new clean energy projects such as 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.
“We recognise that the only sensible [and] practical route to reducing emissions is building the energy system of tomorrow,” said Majid Al Suwaidi, director general and special representative of the UAE for the Cop28 presidency, while speaking at the ISA meeting.
“The clear answer therefore must be to urgently and dramatically invest in clean energy and that is precisely what we are trying to achieve,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.
Annual renewable power capacity must add an average of 1,000 gigawatts annually by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement's goals, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).
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-based agency said in its World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 last month.
“We're calling for a tripling of renewable energy, a doubling of energy efficiency and a dramatic expansion of clean hydrogen by 2030, and we are calling on the oil and gas and industry partners to help us decarbonise existing operations,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.
“We want our partners to help us remove red tape and prohibitive policies to ease investments and to make the Global South a prime destination for foreign investors.”
Global investments in energy transition technology must quadruple to $35 trillion by 2030 to stay in line with commitments made under the Paris Agreement, Irena said in March.