Interview: Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

How is DEWA working to meet its short-term goals in clean energy and water production?

SAEED MOHAMMED AL TAYER: As part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, we aim to have 25% of Dubai’s energy output coming from clean energy sources by 2030. At the same time, 100% of the emirate’s desalinated water will be produced from solar energy and waste heat recovery. This involves making large investments in infrastructure to bring on new supply and maintain the current stock. DEWA provides services to over 900,000 residents with an installed capacity of 11,400 MW of electricity and 470m imperial gallons per day of desalinated water. Our assets are worth over Dh144bn ($29.2bn) and we will make investments of Dh86bn ($23.4bn) over the next five years to meet the growing demand for electricity and water in the emirate. This will also give Dubai a competitive edge in clean energy and energy efficiency.

What private investment opportunities will the development of the fifth stage of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park present?

AL TAYER: The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will be the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the independent power producer model, with a planned capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030 at an investment of Dh50bn ($13.6bn). The solar park supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050’s goal of transforming the emirate into a global hub for clean energy and the green economy.

The park will include an innovation centre that features a number of research and development (R&D) centres that will find solutions and develop new clean energy technologies. It is hoped this will then lead to greater private sector involvement. The R&D centres include a concentrated solar power (CSP) testing facility, a water and environmental research facility, and a research facility for unmanned aerial vehicles. The centre will also focus its R&D efforts on 3D printing and desalination using solar energy. The innovation centre has been allocated a budget of Dh500m ($136.1m) to study integrated, smart and energy-efficient water and electricity networks; waste reduction; and solar energy.

The first phase, with a capacity of 13 MW, became operational in 2013 using photovoltaic solar panels, and was followed in March 2017 by the second phase, which has a capacity of 200 MW derived from photovoltaic solar panels. The 800-MW third phase will be operational by 2020, and will also draw its energy from photovoltaics. The fourth phase of the solar park is the largest single-site CSP project in the world and will bring on-line 950 MW of energy.

The fifth stage will combine photovoltaic and CSP technologies to produce 700 MW from CSP, 600 MW from a parabolic basin complex, 250 MW from photovoltaic solar panels and 100 MW from a solar power tower. The project will have the largest global thermal storage capacity – of some 15 hours – allowing for energy availability around the clock. DEWA issued a tender for 900 MW of electricity using photovoltaic panels under the fifth phase, which will be commissioned in stages starting in 2021.

To what extent has Dubai achieved its targets in sustainable development and the conservation of the emirate’s natural resources?

AL TAYER: Dubai received the platinum rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Cities certification awarded by the US Green Building Council. In addition, Dubai achieved a reduction in net carbon dioxide emissions of 19% as of end-2018, ahead of the Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021. As for conservation, between 2009 and 2018 cumulative savings in target groups reached 2 TWh of electricity and 7.4bn gallons of water, which saved an equivalent of Dh1.2bn ($326.6m) for consumers.