Discussion panel in the presence of Saeed Al Tayer and Sharif Al Olama
26 Jan 2023
The participants in a session titled "Sustainability in Project Management" held on the final day of the 8th Dubai International Project Management Forum, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, emphasised the UAE's commitment to sustainability and environmental preservation through practical, legislative, and leadership initiatives that were realistically translated by the declaration of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE of the 2023 as The Year of Sustainability.
The participants which included His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), His Excellency Engineer Sharif Al Olama, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, and the Business and sustainability author Marga Hoe, highlighted that the UAE has rapidly advanced in recent years towards sustainability in projects, including their continuity and preservation, as well as success in managing them. They also discussed future initiatives aimed at establishing a green economy, complete carbon neutrality, "zero carbon", production of clean and renewable energy, and commitment to environmental protection through the use of technology and trending methods to reach its goals quickly.
The participants emphasized the importance of entities and individuals having a clear understanding of how to achieve sustainability in project management, continuity, and preservation. This includes having a vision and roadmap, specific goals and strategies, and being led by experienced and competent individuals who are capable of successfully managing endeavours and initiatives.
His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), emphasised that Dubai has a clear strategy and roadmap to reach 100% energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. Replying to a question about examples of DEWA’s sustainable projects that support Dubai’s economy, Al Tayer said, “We are guided by the vision of the wise leadership of the UAE in shaping the future. In Dubai, we have clear strategies, including the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050, to achieve 100% clean energy sources by 2050. DEWA uses the Independent Water and Power Producer (IWPP) model for the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the Hassyan desalination complex using Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. This model has attracted AED 40 billion of investments.”
Clean and renewable energy
Al Tayer explained that all DEWA’s projects contribute significantly to sustainability. He noted that the power capacity of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world, will reach 5,000 megawatts (MW) using photovoltaic solar panels (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies. It will be commissioned in stages until 2030 with investments totalling AED50 billion. When completed, it will reduce 6.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
Al Tayer noted that the 700MW 4th phase of the solar park is the world’s largest single-site CSP plant. It uses two technologies: 600MW from a parabolic basin complex (three units of 200MW each), and 100MW from the world’s tallest solar power tower at 262.44 metres (based on Molten Salt technology). On its completion, the project will have the largest thermal storage capacity in the world of 15 hours, allowing for energy availability around the clock. The solar park encompasses a Research and Development (R&D) Centre, an Innovation Centre, and the Green Hydrogen plant, the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa.
Al Tayer noted that DEWA is implementing a 250MW pumped-storage hydropower project in Hatta. It will have 1500-megawatt hour storage capacity and a lifespan of up to 80 years. This is the first of its kind in the region with capital investments of AED 1.42 billion. It will be commissioned in 2024.
Al Tayer said that executing the Dubai Demand Side Management (DSM) Strategy reduced electricity consumption in Dubai from 13,677 KWh per person per annum in 2010 to 11,341KWh per person per annum in 2021 (17.1% per capita reduction). Water consumption in Dubai was also reduced from 39,433 imperial gallons (IG) per person per annum in 2010 to 31,317 IG per person per annum in 2021 (around 21% per capita reduction). This contributed to avoiding 14.1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions between 2011 and 2021.
Al Tayer said that DEWA established Etihad Energy Services (Etihad ESCO) to promote energy efficiency in Dubai. The company has so far managed to retrofit 7792 existing buildings in Dubai. The company aims to retrofit more than 30,000 buildings in Dubai by 2030 to ensure energy efficiency.
To encourage green mobility, DEWA established a new infrastructure for electric vehicles. So far, DEWA has installed 351 EV Charging stations (630 charge points) across Dubai, with plans to reach 1,000 EV Charging stations (1830 charge points) by 2025. These efforts contributed to reducing CO2 emissions by 21% by the end of 2021, exceeding the target of 16% set in the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy.
Realising net-zero goals
Replying to a question about DEWA’s plans to achieve the net-zero target, Al Tayer said, “We work to achieve the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to turn Dubai into a centre of excellence in essential new technologies to achieve net-zero by 2050. This is in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources and achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. Programmes and mechanisms have been developed for the energy and water, transportation, industry, buildings and waste sectors as well as all necessary enablers, regulations & R&D.”
“For many years now in Dubai, we have stopped launching new projects to produce energy using fossil fuels, and restrict new water desalination projects to reverse osmosis technology using clean energy, in addition to raising fuel efficiency in the main production units to about 90%, competing with the highest international benchmarks,” added Al Tayer.
Al Tayer explained that the Emirates District Cooling Establishment (Empower), of which DEWA has a majority share ownership, is the world’s largest district cooling company by connected cooling capacity (1,405,271 Refrigeration Ton “RT”). With Dubai Airport to be connected shortly, Empower’s connected cooling capacity will reach 1,475,011 RT. District Cooling reduces more than 40% of electric energy consumption.
Preparing Emirati capacity
When asked about the skills and competencies he looks for when selecting leaders in sustainable energy projects, Al Tayer said, “Our role model for all our initiatives and projects is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is leading by example. We prepare Emiratis and enhance their skills to lead the sustainable energy sector. The main traits we look for include a clear vision, commitment to sustainability, inspiration, a clear mindset towards innovation, decision-making skills and critical thinking, as well as awareness and passion for green energy and sustainability.”
When asked about his advice to leaders and professionals involved in sustainability and sustainable project management, Al Tayer said they should have a clear vision and a roadmap with strategic objectives to achieve results according to the set KPIs. They also need to have the right competent and proactive managers who share and are committed to the vision.
His Excellency Engineer Sharif Al Olama, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure stated that the UAE leaders placed sustainability among the five priorities of the UAE Government 2023. “The is planning, designing, implementing and operating projects to minimise the harmful environmental impact to the maximum. One of the most important projects in the United Arab Emirates, which is the largest solar power plant in the world, will soon be operational in Abu Dhabi. It will increase solar energy capacity to approximately 3.2 gigawatts, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2.4 metric tons annually. Moreover, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world, will generate 5,000 megawatts by 2030.
“The UAE Hydrogen strategy, where we are expected to produce 14 to 22 MT annually by 2050, targeting 25% of key hydrogen markets. Barakah: a powerhouse for the UAE’s sustainable development, The UAE’s long-held vision of sustainably powering a growing economy with clean electricity has been reinforced with the successful power production at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is leading the rapid decarbonization of the UAE’s power sector, securing the nation’s energy supply against a backdrop of escalating energy prices, and advancing the UAE’s sustainability goals which will help the country to achieve the Net Zero targets by 2050.
“With COP 28 due to be held in the UAE in 2023, all eyes will be on the Barakah plant as it demonstrates how nuclear energy complements renewables as part of a clean energy transition. ENEC is now looking beyond the Barakah plant to areas in R&D, clean hydrogen and advanced nuclear reactors, such as SMRs, to drive decarbonization and tackle climate change.
“The successful completion of ADNOC’s Al-Reyadah CCUS facility in 2016 marked an important milestone in supporting the UAE’s efforts towards decarbonizing the nation’s economy. Al -Reyadah is the region’s first commercial-scale CCUS facility, with 800,000 tonnes per year of CO2 capture capacity. Al -Reyadah processes the CO2 captured from Emirates Steel Industries, which is then injected into our onshore oilfields while enhancing oil recovery.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure stated that UAE is the first Middle East and North African nation to announce a strategic initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. UAE in its updated NDC submission pledges to achieve a reduction of 31% in GHG emissions, relative to Business as Usual in 2030, which is projected to be about 301.2 CO2e MT.
He said: “We developed national green building regulations up to the highest global standards and international best practices to ensure unifying the minimum sustainability standards between all emirates. All sustainability guidelines and regulations are taken into consideration, and the UAE national programs and strategies towards energy saving and sustainability are to be able to achieve these goals and targets”.
Business and sustainability author Marga Hoek has utilised 50,000 studies on sustainability in her work, showcasing the successful efforts of countries to achieve sustainability, preserve the environment and reduce waste in the face of large population growth.
She said that the UAE has demonstrated significant efforts in sustainability and environmental preservation in recent years through practical solutions, initiatives, and projects and efforts aimed at achieving clean energy and zero carbon emissions. The country is considered among those committed to these goals.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai possess the capability to generate hydrogen and clean energy from solar and wind sources. Their efforts reflect the commitment of their wise leadership to achieving sustainability, improving the wellbeing of residents, and preserving the environment through clear visions and plans.
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