The National Committee aims to promote sustainable energy development in the UAE, as a part of the World Energy Council’s energy vision. As a member of the World Energy Council network, the organisation is committed to representing the national perspective of the UAE within national, regional and global energy debates. The committee includes a variety of members to ensure that the diverse energy interests of the UAE are appropriately represented. Members of the committee are invited to attend high-level events, participate in energy-focused study groups, contribute to technical research and be a part of the global energy dialogue.
In March of 2013, H E Al Mazrouei was appointed the Minister of Energy for the United Arab Emirates. Prior to this he was Deputy CEO and Executive Vice President of Mubadala Petroleum, responsible for new business for upstream Oil & Gas development in the MENA region and the eastern hemisphere. H E Al Mazrouei joined Mubadala Petroleum in 2007. During his tenure he contributed to the expansion of Mubadala’s portfolio assets in Bahrain, Oman and Kazakhstan. In addition to being a member of the UAE’s Supreme Petroleum Council Advisory & Audit Committee, H E Al Mazrouei represents Mubadala as a Board member in a number of key companies, such as Dolphin Energy, Tatweer Petroleum and Pearl Energy. H.E. is also a Board member of a publicly listed company, Surouh Real Estate PJSC in Abu Dhabi. H E Al Mazrouei began his career in 1996 with a BSc in Petroleum Engineering from Tulsa University, USA. After his graduation, he joined Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) as a manager of production and facilities engineering for all offshore operators in Abu Dhabi.
Energy in United Arab Emirates
The UAE is among the top 10 largest oil producers in the world. In terms of proven oil and gas reserves, the UAE is ranked seventh largest and 30% of the country’s GDP comes from oil and gas revenue (Estimated from National Account Estimates for 2019, UAE Federal Statistics and Competitiveness Authority. The UAE’s peaceful nuclear program has created the knowledge and human capacity for undertaking the operations of the region’s first nuclear power plant. The first unit of the Barakah Nuclear plant commenced operation in 2020 and, once completed, will introduce 5.6 GW of clean energy capacity to the grid.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE has maintained system reliability throughout and ensured uninterrupted energy supply to the country. The UAE recognises the need to plan ahead for the sustainability of the country's energy future and is therefore currently working on the plans for the next 50 years. However, in the short term, the time needed for energy prices and demand profiles to rebound will be taken into consideration as the UAE government and industry plan for the post-pandemic period.
The UAE’s first unified long-term energy diversification goals have a target of reaching 50% of clean energy capacity in the power generation capacity. Implementation of large-scale renewable energy projects are the focus, with record low prices for concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) technologies. The 13MW first phase of the solar park in Dubai became operational in 2013 using PV solar panels, and the second phase of 200MW received a record low price of 5.98 USD cents/kwh (IRENA Market Analysis GCC, 2019). Today, the lowest price was achieved for the tender of the 2GW plant in Abu Dhabi’s Dhafra is at 1.35 USD cents/kwh. This is approximately a 75% drop in the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) in the UAE for solar PV since 2013. The UAE will become home to the largest single-site CSP project in the world with a capacity of 700MW at an LCOE of 7.3 USD cents/kwh.
Improving the investment policies is critical for the development of energy infrastructure in the country. This is achieved through the introduction and regulation of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the UAE has been instrumental in meeting rapidly rising electricity demand. Today, they represent the majority of new capacity. Although the Emirates Water and Electricity Company and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority allow for IPPs together with power purchase agreements for a period of 15 to 25 years, the two state utilities participate as major equity shareholders in all projects (IRENA Renewable Energy Auctions, 2017).
Urban design has been a focus as the UAE has over 80% of its population living within city boundaries (United Nations Population Division, New York, World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2018 Revision). However, there is a paradigm shift due to the ongoing pandemic; at one point the traffic-reduced up to 90% in the city of Dubai (DFF Future Cities Report, 2020). Both the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai have urban design frameworks, which focus on creating a unique environment that is reflective of the social and cultural elements of the UAE while ensuring the urban spaces are sustainable and connectivity is efficient (Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, 2020).
Hydrogen fuel has become part of the energy agenda within the country. The first green hydrogen project is at the commission stage at the Mohamed Bin Rashid Solar Park and will be powered by the solar generated on site. The project aims to test and display an integrated megawatt-scale plant to produce green hydrogen using renewable energy, store the gas, then deliver it for re-electrification, transportation, or other industrial uses. The project will showcase at the World Expo that will take place from October 2021 to March 2022. In addition, a technical committee headed by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is engaging with relevant stakeholders to establish a UAE position on Hydrogen. While the cost of hydrogen production is set to plummet, the uncertainty around the cost of transport and delivery needs addressing. The National oil company, ADNOC, is appointed by the leadership of the UAE to explore the potential opportunities.