Interview: Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

What strategies is DEWA setting up to ensure production capacity can meet growing demand?

SAEED MOHAMMED AL TAYER: DEWA is working to achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, launched by UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with the aim of generating 75% of the emirate’s total power output from clean energy by 2050. This is why DEWA is investing more than Dh81bn ($22bn) in the sector by 2021 to meet Dubai’s growing demand for electricity and water.

We launched many leading projects to support this strategy. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park – which as an investment of Dh50bn ($13.6bn) is the largest single-site solar park in the world – will have a capacity of 5000 MW by 2030. The solar park is one of the major pillars of the strategy. When completed, it will save 6.5m tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Another important initiative is the Hassyan clean-coal power project, which will have a capacity of 2400 MW. Due for completion in 2023, it will be the first of its kind in the region, and is fully compliant with set international standards, adopting the use of ultra-supercritical technology. DEWA will also build a pumped storage hydroelectric power station that will make use of the water stored in the Hatta Dam. This will be completed in five years and is the first of its kind in the region. It will have a capacity 250 MW and a lifespan of 60-80 years. DEWA has allocated over Dh4.26bn ($1.15bn) to support electricity, water and renewable energy infrastructure projects which help host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. The expo will be connected to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will provide it with 400 MW of power.

DEWA’s total energy production capacity reached 10,000 MW in 2016, while its peak load reached 7982 MW, compared to 7696 MW in 2015. In 2016 we commissioned 16, 132/11 KV substations for a total of 224, and we will establish another 113 substations over the next three years, with a total investment of more than Dh10bn ($2.7bn) for these. All these projects have marked DEWA out as one of the leading utilities worldwide, with the UAE – represented by DEWA – ranking first globally, in getting electricity in the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2018” report.

To what extent have efforts to raise awareness regarding energy consumption been successful?

AL TAYER: DEWA launches many awareness campaigns to reduce demand for electricity and water. We encourage all our customers to rationalise their use by introducing various programmes, campaigns, awards and innovative initiatives throughout the year. Between 2009 and 2016, DEWA’s customers saved over 1.5 TWh of electricity and 6.2bn gallons of water, worth over Dh956m ($260.2m). The savings generated from this offset over 830,500 tonnes of carbon emissions.

How is DEWA pursuing the Smart Dubai initiative?

AL TAYER: DEWA launched three initiatives as part of its efforts to pursue the Smart Dubai initiative. Shams Dubai encourages the installation of solar panels on building rooftops and connects them to DEWA’s grid. By the end of 2017 DEWA had connected 557 buildings in Dubai, with a total capacity of 24.3 MW.

Smart Applications through Smart Meters and Grids speed up connections, respond faster and save energy. The electric vehicle Green Charger initiative establishes the infrastructure and public charging stations. DEWA has already installed 100 charging stations and is working to add another 100 in 2018.

The smart grid is a key pillar of our environmental sustainability strategy. DEWA’s investment in the smart grid is estimated at Dh7bn ($1.9bn) and includes many programmes. This project is set to be completed in the short, medium and long term, between 2014 and 2035.

This will help Dubai become the smartest city in the world. Smart grids also support our target to reduce overall energy consumption by roughly 30% by 2030.