Giving away thousands of energy-saving light bulbs, building a solar plant in the desert, and upgrading industrial facilities and power plants in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah are all part of a plan to reduce Dubai's carbon footprint, while attracting funding from the United Nations, one expert in the field said yesterday.
The projects, at various stages of completion, were expected to cut carbon emissions by 1.7 million tonnes per year, said Ivano Iannelli, the chief executive of the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence. The centre was launched on January 18 to encourage investment in low-carbon technologies in Dubai.
"What we have is a dialogue with major organisations and government departments, and we are trying to identify opportunities," Mr Iannelli said. The centre was working to obtain UN funding for nine projects on behalf of partners in the UAE, said Mr Iannelli, speaking at an expert gathering in Abu Dhabi, organised by the Emirates Solar Industry Association.
The scheme includes giving away 705,000 efficient, compact fluorescent lights in exchange for incandescent lights. Compact fluorescents use 70 per cent less energy than incandescents, and last longer.
Families will be given the lights for free in exchange for returning the same number of working, incandescent lights.
The project could start as early as next year, or in 2013, said Mr Iannelli.
The projects are reviewed by UN experts, and it could take as long as two years before some of them are given carbon credits that companies can sell to generate revenue.
"The work of the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence will help in both the supply side and the demand side [of the carbon market]," said Armen Vartanian of the emissions reduction company EcoVentures.
On the supply side, it would show large industrial players that it was possible to carry out "green" projects to improve their efficiency and generate revenue, he said. It would also enable companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint through the purchase of carbon credits to do so locally, he said.
The carbon centre's largest project involves an energy-efficiency upgrade to a large industrial facility in Dubai. If the project goes ahead, it could prevent about 350,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from being released.
At the other end of the scale is a plan to build a small solar plant on the outskirts of Dubai.
"We do have a solar farm coming up in Dubai," he said, confirming an announcement made by Dubai officials last week.
The solar power facility, developed by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), will cost about Dh109 million. It will have a generating capacity of 10 megawatts - similar to that of the country's first plant on the premises of Masdar City.
Like its Abu Dhabi predecessor, the Dubai plant will rely on photovoltaic panels to transform sunlight into electricity. If the project goes forward, it will prevent 14,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere every year.
The project's official announcement is expected to come from Dewa once UN funding has been approved. According to documents submitted to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the plant will be located in a desert area between the Dubai-Al Ain Road and the Outer Bypass.
While solar technology has captured the public imagination, a much simpler upgrade at a Ras Al Khaimah cement plant will have a larger effect on carbon emission savings.
The scheme, Mr Iannelli said, would use waste heat at one of the plant's four production lines.
The upgrade will involve installing two boilers, a steam turbine and a generator to tra waste heat and turn it into electricity. The scheme is expected to save 66,800 tonnes of greenhouse emissions per year.
The carbon centre aims to help local projects receive UN funding, as made possible under the CDM. Under this scheme, money from industrialised countries is used to fund projects in the developing world, which would prevent the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.