x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai aims for energy shift from oil to gas

Dubai plans to generate 70 per cent of its power from natural gas.

Dubai, which currently burns oil for a large part of its electricity supply, plans to generate 70 per cent of its power with natural gas.

The rest would come from coal, nuclear energy and renewable sources, said Saeed al Tayer, the chief executive of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

The state utility expects to name a consultant within the next two weeks to develop a clean coal-power plant, he said.

Dubai has also set a target of producing 5 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy within the next 20 years, said Mr al Tayer, who is also the vice chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

"Concerning clean energy for Dubai, according to the strategic plan we will [initially] have 70 per cent gas and 30 per cent nuclear power, and also renewable energy," he said yesterday. "In 2020, we can have perhaps 1 per cent of power from renewable energy; by 2030, we can reach 5 per cent."

The council is to unveil its long-term energy strategy at the Dubai Global Energy Forum next week.

"The UAE is aware of the importance of having a clear vision to achieve pre-set targets," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the council chairman, said yesterday.

"As a result, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy devised an integrated energy strategy until 2030, supporting the UAE Vision 2021."

Next week's energy forum is to feature presentations by international energy experts and scientists, including Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the former Indian president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Sheikh Ahmed said.

Dr ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way".

In the scientific community, Dr Kalam is better known for heading the project that brought India into the "space club" by developing the country's first satellite launch vehicle than for his 2002-2007 term as India's president.

Adnan Amin, who was last week appointed director general of the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, is also to address the conference.

"This forum is unique," said Mr al Tayer. "It is complementary to others in the world. It is tackling every aspect of energy … the new technologies, the smart systems, so it is a little bit different.

"We are keen to benefit from the international scientists and engineers attending. This is an international conference. It is not only for Dubai."

One of the new technologies that Dubai would need to master if it hopes to develop a "clean" coal-fired power plant is carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Without that, even the most efficient coal-fired plants emit more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which has been linked to global warming, than gas-fired plants generating the same amount of electricity.

CCS, which is considered a costly route to emissions reduction, is already under study in Abu Dhabi, which has plans to inject carbon dioxide captured from refineries and industrial plants into oilfields to boost crude extraction.

Mr al Tayer said Dubai was considering all energy options, including coal and nuclear power, despite coal's poor environmental track record and the recent nuclear disaster in Japan.

Sheikh Ahmed said he hoped the forum would be "of great benefit in creating strong studies and recommendations that the world can consider and implement to help overcome its energy challenges and seize the opportunity to safeguard the environment".