x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai signs deal with international agency seeking 5% of energy from sun

Dubai is to seek advice on how to encourage the increased use of domestic solar power from the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

A display at this year's World Energy Forum exhibition, which was held in Dubai in October, showcasing the emirate's ambitious plans for the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Ali Haider / EPA
A display at this year's World Energy Forum exhibition, which was held in Dubai in October, showcasing the emirate's ambitious plans for the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Ali Haider / EPA

Dubai is to seek advice on how to encourage the increased use of domestic solar power from the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) yesterday signed an agreement with Irena that will help the emirate achieve its target of getting five per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, said Saeed Al Tayer, Dewa's managing director and chief executive,

"Achieving a green and sustainable future is a responsibility for us all," he said. "That's why DEWA is working relentlessly to share best practices and expertise in the field of renewable energy with all reputable and concerned organisations."

Dr Adnan Amin, the director general of Irena, said the deal would give the Dubai utility access to expertise on "renewable energy-friendly policy to attract investors and technology providers, best-practice expert knowledge, top-level training and the most up-to-date information".

"With this agreement, Dubai, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, is demonstrating its own leadership in this field," he added.

"We are seeing tremendous will to invest in renewable energy but there are a number of institutional and policy issues that still need to be addressed - issues of regulation, issues of institutional design, issues of capacity.

"We are working very closely with Dewa in looking at how we can bring the best practices that we are seeing around the world in terms of tariffs, policies, connection codes and so on together, so that we have a much better understanding of the possibilities for rapid growth in the future.

"Together, I believe that Dubai and Irena can prove that renewable energy is a compelling and cost-effective choice to fuel growth, make money and help the planet at the same time."

This year, Dubai unveiled plans for the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, which aims to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030, enough to power around 200,000 homes

A 48 square-kilometre plot in Seih Al-Dahal, around 30km south-east of Dubai, has been allocated for the project. Work is currently starting on a 13MW plant.

"The contractor is working to prepare the site. Work is also starting on manufacturing the panels," said Waleed Salman, chairman of the Dubai Carbon Centre.

Most of the work on the facility will be completed between April and June next year, with the plant due to go online in October.

However, to reach its long-term target for the solar park, Dubai will require financial help from private investors, said Mr Salman.

The same applies for plans to encourage small-scale solar installations within buildings in the emirate.

Distributed energy, as this idea is collectively known, could generate up to 1,000MW for Dubai, given the right encouragement.

"Our engagement with Irena today is putting us in a position to move faster on this," said Mr Salman.

vtodorova@thenational.ae