For a city born from the desert, Dubai has taken a prime role globally as a destination for green technology businesses and investors.
Spurred on by the government’s specific targets and supportive policies, foreign companies have been flocking to Dubai to take advantage of the latest tenders and programmes. The emirate is well on its way to generating 7 per cent of its power output from clean energy sources by 2020, taking it up to 25 per cent by 2030 and as much as 75 per cent by 2050.
Specifically, the AED50 billion ($13.6bn), 77 square kilometer Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park offers plenty in terms of opportunity for international firms.
As the world’s largest single-site solar park, the project involves a significant amount of work including construction and supply of various equipment and services. The park will generate up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030.
“Projects like that are what really created the market. Now we see other countries replicating what’s happening in Dubai and taking advantage of the lower prices,” Taher Diab, strategy & planning director at the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (SCE), said at the MENA New Energy 2017 conference in Dubai.
Shams Dubai recycling power from the sun
Further opportunities exist in Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Shams Dubai programme, an initiative designed to encourage building owners to produce solar energy and export the surplus back to the grid. More than 200 buildings have been equipped with solar panels since the programme’s launch.
“We’re likely to see an increase in distributed solar projects, with the private sector stepping up to provide the granular customisation needed to achieve the next steps of integrating solar with things like sustainable water solutions and urban greenhouses,” said Martin Haupts, CEO of Phanes Group, which is working on a solar project for Dubai-based port operator DP World.
Companies can also take part in DEWA’s smart applications initiative, which aims to install over one million smart meters by 2020, covering the whole emirate.
DEWA putting its foot down on electric vehicles
Meanwhile, electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers can capitalize on DEWA’s Green Charger scheme, through which the utility company will double its electric vehicles charging stations across Dubai to 200.
In fact, all government organisations must ensure at least 2 per cent of their vehicle purchases are hybrid or electric from 2016 to 2020. The mandated figure will increase to 10 per cent by 2030.
“I think this program has delivered tangible results,” Diab added.
“We hope that by 2030 we’ll see 10 per cent penetration at government level. That’s about 4,000 cars. We’re also working on an incentive scheme to encourage private owners to opt for electric and hybrid cars and we should announce it before the summer begins.”
To further diversify energy resources, DEWA is building a pumped storage hydroelectric power station which will make use of the water stored in the mountains next to Hatta Dam. The project will be completed in five years, producing 250 MW over 60-80 years.
Dubai Green Fund fostering clean energy ideas
Furthermore, about 30,000 of the city’s 120,000 buildings are being modified into energy-efficient structures, while 75 per cent of outdoor lights around the city will be replaced with more efficient fixtures by 2030.
To accelerate the green economy transition, the government recently approved the AED 100 billion ($27 billlion) Dubai Green Fund, which will support various projects including solar power and those related to the retrofitting of buildings.
At the same time, the emirate is developing the Dubai Green Zone, a new free zone designed to bring together mature and emerging clean energy companies.
“We’ve created the market, developed the capacity to go along with it and secured very competitive [solar energy] prices in a short time,” Diab said. “This reflects not only a vision but a regulatory framework and a dynamic strategy involving the private sector and stakeholders.”
Green technologies will be front and centre in Dubai at WETEX (Water, Energy, Technology & Environment Exhibition) & The World Green Economy Summit, taking place in October.