Interview: Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

What roles are public-private partnerships expected to play in boosting Dubai’s green energy output?

SAEED MOHAMMED AL TAYER: The path to a sustainable future relies on green energy, renewability and innovation. The UAE is working towards this through initiatives like the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide 75% of the emirate’s total power output from clean energy by 2050. It also aims to establish a sustainable energy model that supports economic growth without damaging the environment and its resources.

DEWA supports this goal by developing clean and renewable energy projects like the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar park in the world. It will produce 5000 MW by 2030 and has total current investment of Dh5bn ($1.4bn). When completed, it is projected that it will reduce carbon emissions by over 6.5m tonnes per year.

We launched Dubai Green Fund to provide innovative financing solutions for green projects. Our intention is to offer loans at reduced interest rates to entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies that want to innovate in the sector, and we expect that this will significantly boost the overall volume of green energy output.

Competition between independent power producers (IPPs) has resulted in major reductions in capital expenditure per megawatt of installed capacity, compared with the engineering, procurement and construction model, and provides greater economic efficiencies. DEWA has over 4000 MW of IPP projects and investments exceeding Dh30bn ($8bn) under implementation in partnership with the private sector, allowing us to avoid additional investments of around Dh26bn ($7bn).

How will desalination help to diversify the energy mix, and what is the anticipated timeline for it?

AL TAYER: M-Station is the newest and largest electricity generation and water desalination plant in the UAE, with a current total capacity of 2185 MW of electricity and 140m imperial gallons per day (MIGD) of water. The 700-MW M-Station extension currently under commission will expand the generation capacity to 2885 MW, using the most advanced technologies in the world. Efficiency of fuel use has been increased up to 90%, while production efficiency has increased by approximately 29% since 2006.

DEWA is also building a 40-MIGD seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant at Jebel Ali. The brownfield site will feature a double-pass reverse osmosis system and pre-treatment facilities. It is anticipated to be commissioned by May 2020, and production capacity is expected to reach 750m gallons of desalinated water per day by 2030. The new plant will increase the level of water demand being met from 5% to 47%.

What steps are being taken to address the growing consumption of water and electricity?

AL TAYER: Since its launch in 2013 the demand side management (DSM) strategy has aimed to reduce water demand by 31% and electricity demand by 21% by 2030. This will be accomplished with eight main programmes: building regulations, retrofits, district cooling, standards and labels, water reuse and efficient irrigation, outdoor lighting, tariff rates and Shams Dubai.

As part of the building retrofit programme, energy service companies have launched energy-efficiency projects in approximately 2600 buildings. In 2017 we saved a total of 3.3 TWh of electricity and 4.9bn imperial gallons of water. These savings result in a reduction of 9% and 11% per capita in electricity and water consumption, respectively, on 2010 figures. This contributes to approximately Dh1.1bn ($299.4m) of capital investment savings for new generation capacity and Dh3.1bn ($843.8m) of operational cost savings.

The cumulative cost of the DSM strategy implementation up to 2030 is estimated at Dh30bn ($8.2bn), while the present value of savings is around Dh82bn ($22.3bn). This results in the DSM strategy having a net present value of approximately Dh52bn ($14.2bn).