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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

GCC cities must be more energy-efficient, experts say

Cooling storage in the GCC is an option to look at while using solar energy in the day

Cities will have to obtain all of their power from renewable sources by 2050 to address climate change, experts from the Masdar Institute said yesterday.

Dr Sgouris Sgouridis, associate professor of engineering systems and management, said the status quo would end the world’s carbon budget by 2032.

“That’s very close,” Dr Sgouridis said. “We need to change our ways and move entirely away from fossil fuels within five decades, which means no oil, gas or coal.

“We’re heading to places where we haven’t been before and travelling in uncharted waters, so we need to have a vision. And it’s perfectly feasible to reach 80 per cent of renewables.”

A study by Masdar should that the world should stop burning fossil fuels in the atmosphere by 2060 if it is to stay within the 2°C mark by 2100.”

“We need to be investing our fossil fuels today to building the renewable energy infrastructure in the future,” Dr Sgouridis said. “Today we have about 160 gigawatts installed a year.

“If we are to follow this trajectory, by 2035 we need to be installing about 5 to 7 terawatts of renewable energy capacity, so it’s a very significant jump – 50 times more than what we’ve installed today.”

This means following Masdar City’s example. Cities will have to be carbon-neutral and waste-free, with 100 per cent water re-use and all power generated by renewable sources.

“All these targets are still relevant today if we want to achieve the 2°C goal,” Dr Sgouridis said, referring to the Paris Accord, where signatories in 2015 pledged to keep climate change only 2°C above that of the pre-industrial era.

“All cities need to do the same thing. Masdar City wanted to do that by 2020, but we have an extra 30 years for all cities.

“Many of our energy needs might not be that useful and they might be wasted. We can use a heat pump for heating because it’s a waste of electricity.

“For water, we can very easily use the sun, especially in this region. It’s a terrible sin that we are continuously relying on electric boilers for domestic hot water.

“Not using solar energy is a waste, especially in this region. We need to be smarter.

“Even freight transport and aviation can be discussed later on as we can support large planes with electric-based fuel.”

He suggested new systems could be introduced such as in New York City, which is able to see which buildings waste energy, or Chicago, which can find out which households are responsible for the most emissions.

“A smart city should be aware of its use intensity of material and energy resources, and continuously strive for improving its efficiency,” Dr Sgouridis said.