The UAE's hydrogen strategy is another smart step to decarbonise the economy

Pushing the energy transition agenda will help reach the 2050 net zero goal

Mubadala, Adnoc and ADQ Holding Company established the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance in January 2021. Wam
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In the Year of Sustainability, the UAE has committed to acting today for a better tomorrow. Throughout the country's journey, our leaders have envisioned and worked towards a future with abundant resources, a thriving economy and a healthier environment.

Last week, we took a major step in this direction with the update of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the launch of the National Hydrogen Strategy – both are to provide a blueprint for a sustainable, climate-safe energy-secure future for our nation.

We made sure to aim high and set ambitious targets. From more than tripling the country’s renewables capacity to establishing cutting-edge hydrogen oases and investing up to Dh200 billion to sustainably meet the energy demand in the next seven years, the two strategies reflect our unwavering commitment to decarbonising the economy and reaching net zero by 2050.

While developing the strategies, we were keen to focus on energy security, economic development and climate action, because we recognise that they are closely linked. A robust, just energy transition can drive progress across the three priorities and help power a comprehensive sustainable development.

The strategies were developed in collaboration with our stakeholders from across the energy supply chain to ensure they are inclusive and engage key players in their implementation.

They build on our strong track record as a reliable producer of low-emission energy. The UAE’s renewables industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, and the trend is expected to continue as we aim to reach a total capacity of 14.2 GW by 2030.

Today, we run three of the world’s largest single-site solar plants, with many other mega projects under development. We take pride in our clean energy powerhouse, Masdar, that, since 2006, has taken the lead in delivering the leadership’s vision of making the UAE one of the world’s major investors and advocates of renewables, investing in the technology, bringing to life large-scale renewable energy projects, and reducing the price of solar energy to 1.32 US cents per kwh. Masdar’s current renewables investments have a total capacity of 20 GW installed or under development and aims to grow it to an impressive 100 GW by 2030.

Nuclear energy is also an integral part of our clean energy transition, with Barakah, the first nuclear plant in the Arab region, set to go fully online next year and supply up to 25 per cent of the UAE's electricity needs.

Furthermore, we have set eyes on becoming a leading producer and supplier of low-carbon hydrogen, working towards producing 1.4 million metric tonnes of hydrogen annually by 2031 and 15 million metric tonnes annually by 2050.

As per the National Hydrogen Strategy, the UAE will establish two hydrogen oases by 2031 and increase the number to five by 2050. To advance related technologies, the country will establish a hydrogen centre for research and development in 2031, which will be developed into a recognised innovation centre globally for hydrogen by 2050.

Our shift towards clean energy is internationally recognised. The UAE has been ranked second in the Energy Transition pillar of the Green Future Index 2023, impressively climbing eight positions from the previous year.

The UAE aspires to be a role model for an ambitious, yet pragmatic transition to clean energy sources. We continue to meet the global energy needs of today, while investing heavily in the clean energy systems of tomorrow.

In just few months, the UAE will host the 28th UN Climate Change Conference or Cop28. It will be a Cop of action, where the global energy transition will be front and centre. This priority gains paramount importance as current data indicates that the global emission trajectory is still pointing upwards.

The Cop28 presidency calls for tripling the global renewables capacity and doubling hydrogen production by 2030. The UAE will deliver and urges other countries to step up and increase the pace and scale of their energy transition to become climate neutral.

Reaching net zero by mid-century is our best approach to keeping climate change in check, meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and averting worst-case scenarios.

Published: July 11, 2023, 2:00 PM