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WETEX 2015 Review

DEWA displays its green credentials at the biggest ever Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX).

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DEWA, Wetex

If anyone had any doubts about the direction of Dubai’s energy development they need only have attended last month’s Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) where close to 1,700 exhibitors from 46 countries filled nine cavernous halls of the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Though they came from every corner of the energy world, the event had a distinctly green flavour. For the second year running WETEX was part of Green Week and held alongside the World Green Economy Summit (WGES). The theme of sustainability in energy and water resources as well as the environment ran strongly through the exhibition.

Dubai has made solar energy, electric vehicles and smart grids the central pillars of its energy policy in a bid to become the world’s smartest city and all of three industries were heavily represented.

“Diversification of the energy mix is part of the UAE’s priorities to become a leading hub for renewable energy and green development,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO and managing director of DEWA, at the conclusion of the three day event.

“WETEX is a leading and unique platform that attracts key players from trade and economic sectors working in the water, energy, and environment domains. The exhibition targets business and society, who are also the targeted audience of DEWA’s campaigns, to raise awareness about conserving natural resources and supporting sustainability to reduce energy demand to achieve the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030,” he added.

Novak Stevanovic, ABB Transmission and Distribution’s regional division manager power systems for India, Middle East and Africa has been attending WETEX for a number of years and says the rapid changes currently taking place in Dubai are clearly reflected in the evolution of the event in recent years.

“For me it’s very interesting to be part of all these changes because ABB is known as a very innovative company so it’s a very exciting time,” he said. “And for me the most interesting thing is the speed and how fast this is happening. I came from Germany where I’ve seen the transition from traditional power to renewables but it took much longer there than it is taking here in Dubai.”

Stevanovic says ABB, a strategic sponsor at WETEX, can help Dubai at every level of its energy policy. The Swiss company is building the 400 kV substation that will link Dubai’s solar park to the grid and it also offers solutions for smart grids as well as electric vehicle chargers which were on display at its booth.

ABB’s fast chargers are designed to look like petrol pumps to make it easier for customers to accept and make the transition to electric vehicles. DEWA has launched the first electric vehicle charging points in Dubai and plans to have 100 stations by the end of the year.

Stevanovic has no doubt that electric vehicles can catch on here, even in a part of the world where people tend to be fond of large, powerful vehicles. “It’s not a competing solution it’s a complimentary solution,” he says.

“For a city like Dubai it’s smart to have electric vehicles for moving around the city.”

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Dubai-based cable supplier Ducab was a platinum sponsor at this year’s WETEX where it showcased its latest lines of products, designed to meet the needs of the region’s most prominent industries. Managing director Andrew Shaw stressed the importance of being a part of the event on the company’s home turf.

“WETEX is important for us for a number of reasons. The first is that it’s in our home territory. It’s strongly based around DEWA which is one of our key customers and our shareholding partner in high voltage so it’s got a utility focus which is a very important part of our business,” he said.

“But also there’s the theme around sustainability and green initiatives so it’s developing a different flavour to the straight product offering in other exhibitions.

What’s impressive is how quickly the UAE in particular has picked up on the issues of sustainability and energy efficiency. Things that weren’t being talked about seven or eight years ago are absolutely forefront now. And it is being led by utilities and governments.

“As a cable maker we’re right in the middle of sustainability. So much of green energy is about electricity and about the efficient distribution of electricity and that’s via cables. So we have a very important part to play.”

German chemical giant BASF was at the event to showcase its portfolio of products used in the water treatment and thermal desalination processes. Its Sokalan PM15I antiscalant is used by DEWA to protect desalination plants in the Jebel Ali Power and Water Complex.

“This is a very important event for us,” said Matthias Halusa, VP water solutions. “Water is one of the biggest if not the biggest challenge in the region and therefore all countries have put in place enormous desalination capacities. They have a big demand for chemistry to protect these investments from deterioration because desalination assets tend to corrode and develop scale. That’s where we come in. We provide sustainable and innovative solutions for these facilities.”

‘We create chemistry for a sustainable future’ is embroidered in BASF’s corporate logo and the company has also set itself tough sustainability targets because its industrial complexes around the world consume vast quantities of water. It aims to reduce the amount of water it uses by 50% between 2010 and 2020 while still growing as a company. BASF is on track having cut water consumption by 23% at the half way point.

“Sustainability is a big issue because a lot of energy and water is required here and governments understand that they have to provide sustainable solutions and that only works with state of the art technologies,” he adds.

Exhibiting for the very first time at the event, platinum sponsor Ericsson showcased its smart grid system integration solutions. The company has a strong presence in Europe but is now looking to advance its business in the Middle East and it chose WETEX as the forum to announce its arrival in the region.

Earlier this year Ericsson formed a partnership with smart metre maker Landis + Gyr to address the Middle East’s smart metering and smart grid transformation projects and has worked with DEWA on a pilot project.

“We’re here for the first time as a platinum sponsor,” said Julio Echenique- Utilities Principal, Business Line
Industry and Society, Ericsson. “This is a very clear message to say that we want to grow and be the biggest in this market.”

Facts:
- 1,700 exhibitors
- 46 countries exhibited

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