Dubai pledges more than $160bn of funds for energy plan

Financial boost for Emirate’s infrastructure will drive development of clean technologies, with ruler eager for unified GCC energy plan

A scheme to revitalise Dubai’s energy infrastructure will receive $163bn of state funding, the Emirate’s government has announced.

The finance jackpot is likely to pave the way for a host of new private-public partnerships to deliver on the plan’s scope.

Announced on 10 January, the ambitious UAE Energy Plan 2050 will unroll over the next three decades, during which Dubai aims to double the clean component of its energy amenities from a current level of 25% up to 50%.

The strategy will be implemented in three work-streams:

  1. accelerating the move towards efficient energy consumption, plus ensuring the growth of diverse and stable energy sources;
  2. finding a series of new, energy-efficient solutions for municipal transportation; and
  3. carrying out an R&D programme with the aim of enhancing innovation and creativity in the supply of sustainable energy.

As well as helping the Emirate to meet its environmental goals, the plan will provide a “conducive economic environment” for growth across all business sectors, according to Dubai ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

As His Highness explained: “The new strategy takes into consideration an expected annual growth of 6%, and… the reduction of the carbon footprint resulting from [our] power generation by 70% over the next three decades.”

He added: “Ensuring the sustainability of energy resources guarantees the sustainability of our country’s growth. Drafting the first unified energy strategy in the country based on supply and demand is a significant achievement of the government.

“He who does not think of energy is not thinking about the future.”

His Highness also wants the plan to spark a much wider drive towards sustainable energy across the entire membership of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

“The Gulf countries are similar in their economic structures,” he said, “and we hope that we will one day have a unified GCC energy strategy in order to ensure sustainable growth for our people and global influence for our economies.”

Just over a week after the plan was unveiled, a further development showed just how eagerly His Highness wants to be personally identified with clean technologies – and the private-public partnership model.

To mark the beginning of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Emirates-based green-energy firm Masdar announced that, at the end of January, they would break ground on a long-planned 800MW extension of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

With Masdar – a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Mubadala Development Company – providing public funds alongside DEWA, the new section will be fulfilled by a team of specialist, private contractors: Ghella from Italy, and GranSolar and Acciona from Spain.

When the new phase is completed, the facility as a whole will be the largest solar park in the world.

Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said: “This important milestone is a clear demonstration of the strong momentum behind the expansion of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, now including partnerships with GranSolar, Acciona and Ghella: respected international companies with a strong track record in renewables.

“At Masdar, we are proud to be supporting the UAE in realising its bold clean energy targets, and we are grateful for DEWA’s excellent leadership in this benchmark project.”

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