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Towards a Brighter Future

by Jason O'Connell on Apr 1, 2015

His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA.
His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA.

DEWA recently announced plans to accelerate the amount of solar power in its energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the previous target of 5%. What was behind that decision and might DEWA be in a position to raise the target again in the coming years?

Our decision to increase the share of renewable energy in Dubai’s energy mix from 1% to 7% by 2020 and from 5% to 15% by 2030 is part of DEWA’s commitment to achieving the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 and is based on DEWA’s commitment to a brighter, sustainable future for Dubai and the UAE.

The decision was made to ensure that we support Dubai’s ongoing development by using the latest technologies and adopting the latest innovations in the energy sector, as well as strengthening our operations to increase energy generation efficiency. DEWA derives its vision from Dubai and is inspired by the strategy of its leadership, and took the decision to enhance the share of renewable energy, thus accelerating sustainable development.

In addition, this is an integral part of DEWA’s efforts to support the long-term national Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish the UAE as a world leader in green economy and a centre for the export and re-export of green products and technologies.

In which quarter next year will DEWA launch the tender for the 700MW phase of the solar project?

DEWA will open up the bid for contractors to send their proposals for the 700MW photovoltaic phase in the fourth quarter of 2015, using the Independent Power Producer model. It is important to concentrate on the completion of the second phase in the meanwhile and ensure that our strategy remains robust, is well-informed and is based on the objectives of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030. Given the highly-competitive rates we have seen from the bidders and the very low bid for the 200MW plant by the ACWA Power-led consortium, this new tender will show that solar energy is becoming increasingly cost-effective and a shining opportunity for us all.

How much rooftop solar power capacity does DEWA expect to be installed in Dubai this year and in 2016?

This is at an early stage and I should point out that Dubai is the first city in the region to implement a Distributed Renewable Resources Generation programme to develop the installation of solar panels on buildings. This will be determined based on the response we receive from the community.

We have received a positive response already, and we are finalising the details of the initiative. One example of this is the project by Dubai Airports to install solar panels on its staff accommodation building at Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International airport. Dubai Airports intends that the solar array will offset the power used by DWC’s Employee Gate Facility. The array, which is located on the roof of the building, has a capacity of 30kW and generates about 48.8 MWh of electricity per year, equal to about two-thirds of the power used by the building. In addition to this, there are a further 10 requests for projects that will generate approximately 8.5MW in total in the near future.

Are electricity tariffs encouraging private individuals and companies to invest in rooftop solar systems?

The shift to investing in rooftop solar systems is not driven by electricity tariffs but by a commitment from all stakeholders to promote renewable energy, benefiting everyone. What attracts individuals and companies is the opportunity to generate solar power to offset their consumption, so that their consumption will not reach higher slab tariff rates. The electricity generated will allow customers to reduce electricity bills over the expected lifetime of the system. In addition, should the customer decide to sell or rent his property, the solar systems are likely to improve its market value, as residents will have lower electricity bills than adjacent properties without them. Also, by using solar energy, our customers will significantly contribute to the city’s effort in preserving the environment, achieving low electricity consumption levels, and reducing its carbon footprint, as solar systems produce no air or water pollution and no greenhouse gas emissions.

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