Abu Dhabi has set an ambitious goal that goes beyond the UAE’s national energy strategy, which aims to increase the share of clean energy in its installed capacity mix to 50% by 2050. The Department of Energy (DoE) has been the regulatory authority for the energy sector in Abu Dhabi since 2018 and plays a pivotal role in driving energy transition efforts. Indeed, the emirate is committed to generating 60% of its electricity from clean sources by 2035 and reduce carbon emissions per MWh produced by the electricity industry by up to 75% within the same timeframe compared to 2016.

The Clean Energy Strategic Target 2035 for Electricity Production in Abu Dhabi is the Middle East’s first legally binding clean and renewable energy objective for the electricity segment. The framework marks not only a shift in Abu Dhabi’s energy mix, but is a vital component of the UAE’s decarbonisation and sustainable growth.

Strategic Blueprint

Spearheaded by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in collaboration with DoE, Abu Dhabi’s clean energy strategy involves significant investment in clean energy infrastructure, technology innovation and the development of a low-carbon economy. “The EAD has developed a set of regulations and guidelines to ensure that waste management is done in an environmentally responsible, sustainable manner,” Ali AlDhaheri, CEO of Abu Dhabi Waster Management Company, told OBG. “One example is the Abu Dhabi Waste Management Regulations, which provide guidelines for waste generators, transporters and disposal facilities.” The emirate’s investment aligns with the UAE’s July 2023 announcement to triple its renewable energy supply and invest up to $54bn by 2030 to meet growing local energy demand. Working with 26 Abu Dhabi entities, in 2020 the EAD established a climate change taskforce to develop policies that support the UAE government’s sustainability vision.

The Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy, a five-year plan approved by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council in July 2023, comprises 81 initiatives and 12 key projects, including low-emissions vehicles, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen production. These efforts aim to achieve a 22% reduction in carbon emissions by 2027.


In February 2023 the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) was able to meet 80% of Abu Dhabi’s total power demand using renewable and clean energy sources from its solar and nuclear facilities, providing approximately 6.2 GW out of the total 7.7-GW system power demand. EWEC’s plan to reduce reliance on hydrocarbons and decouple water production from power generation involves substantial investment in utility-scale solar power and low-carbon reverse osmosis water desalination projects.

This success was achieved by integrating solar power generation into the grid, with contributions from installations like the 100-MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant and the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. In February 2023 Unit 3 at Barakah entered commercial operations, adding 1.4 GW of zero-carbon emission electricity capacity and bringing the total production from Units 1, 2 and 3 of the nuclear facility to 4.2 GW. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation expects Unit 4 to operate commercially in 2024, supplying 25% of the UAE’s electricity demands and preventing the release of 22.4m tonnes of carbon emissions.

The first country in the region to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement, the UAE updated its third contribution in July 2023, aiming for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Along with preparing to host the UN Conference on Climate Change 28 in November 2023, the UAE is moving towards its goal of achieving 14 GW of clean power by 2030. This trajectory is supported by projections that anticipate the country’s nuclear and non-hydropower renewables capacity to reach 5.5 GW MW and nearly 8 GW, respectively, by 2030. Within this context, Abu Dhabi plays a crucial role in the UAE’s aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It is contributing to the delivery of a reliable energy supply, while safeguarding the environment and consumer interests.