Solar key to tackling climate change and meeting energy demands: CEO of Dubai's DEWA
The increasing issue of climate change has become a threat to all creatures, the environment, and biodiversity on Earth. This has become a challenge in that the world must unite to overcome. The challenges faced by the modern-day world is but a fraction of what we can expect to face in the future, if we do not react quickly and work to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Using fossil fuels to generate power has become one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is one of the most important steps towards addressing climate change, by using alternative solutions like renewable energy, solar power, wind power, hydropower, geothermal energy and tidal power, while rationalising consumption and enhancing energy efficiency.
Increasing our dependence on renewable energy sources in the energy sector may be necessary, through there is also an urgent need to increase the share of renewable energy in sectors such as transport, heating, cooling and other vital sectors. Modern governments need to address the challenges posed by climate change, to meet the increasing demand for energy.
This will have an adverse effect on our environment, and on our natural resources which are considered an important assed for future generations. Governments must establish policies, laws and legislations to preserve renewable energy, while making larger investments in the field of renewable energy. Global investments in renewable energy are expected to reach USD 7.8 trillion by 2040, according to the latest Bloomberg Energy Finance Report.
The international community is aware of the importance of promoting renewable energy, establishing clean energy solutions, reducing carbon emissions, supporting growth GDP, and providing more jobs in the renewable energy sector. The renewable energy sector is expected to provide over 24 million jobs by 2030.
Solar energy is one of the most efficient forms of clean energy. Studies have shown that the amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface is enough meet the world’s energy needs 3,000 times over. Each square metre of the Earth is exposed to average of 1,700 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy on yearly basis.
Solar energy is the most common source of clean energy in the UAE, due to the UAE’s positioning on the solar belt. Each square metre of Dubai is exposed to an average of 2,150 kW of solar energy annually. Due to this, Dubai has realised the importance of harnessing solar energy. The total production capacity of power converted from solar energy is 301 gigawatts (GW), and this rose by 33 percent in 2016. This figure is expected to increase to 983GW by 2030, over 10 percent of the world’s expected capacity.
Photovoltaic technology contributed to 295GW in 2016, and is expected to increase to 949GW in 2030. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) contributed to 5GW in 2016, and is expected to increase to 34GW in 2030. The total combined production capacity of solar projects in the region, equates to about 5,360MW, of which 4,050MW was harnessed through the use of photovoltaic panels. 1,310MW of energy was harnessed through CSP.
The UAE has prepared itself to bid farewell to the last drop of oil by investing in solar projects to reduce energy consumption and preserve natural resources. The UAE’s interest in producing renewable energy, has led to a decline in the global cost of energy tenders in solar power and wind energy. Europe and other parts of the Middle East have also witnessed a decrease in the cost to produce thermal energy using coal, according to a study published by the Japanese Economic Corporation.
DEWA set a world record by obtaining the lowest price globally for the second phase, at USD 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h). DEWA set another world record with the lowest recorded bid being USD 2.99 cents per kW/h for the 800MW third phase of the park, highlighting a promising future for clean energy in the UAE.
This supports our efforts to achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy. The strategy sets the ambitious target of generating 5,000MW of solar power by 2030, comprising 25 percent of Dubai’s total power output.
Clean energy will generate 7 percent of Dubai’s total power output by 2020, 25 percent by 2030, and 75 percent by 2050. This also reflects our efforts to achieve the Carbon Abatement Strategy, to reduce carbon emissions by 16 percent by 2021. DEWA has launched a number of major projects and initiatives on renewable energy, to drive the sustainable development of the Emirate.
This includes the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which reflects the UAE’s efforts to ensure sustainable development, and its recognition of the importance of renewable energy to ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, with a planned capacity of 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030, with a total investment of AED 50 billion. It will eventually save approximately 6.5 million tonnes per annum in emissions. The first phase of the solar park was launched in 2012 with a production capacity of 13MW, it became operational in October 2013. The 200MW second phase of the solar park, based on the IPP model, became operational in March 2017.
It is the first and largest project of its kind to be implemented according to the IPP model. The 800MW third phase of the solar park will become operational in 2020. DEWA is building the largest CSP project in the world, based on the IPP model. The 200MW first phase of the CSP plant will be operational by April 2021, and will generate 1,000 megawatts using this technology by 2030.
DEWA launched three smart initiatives to support the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into the Smartest and Happiest city in the world. DEWA’s initiatives include connecting solar energy to houses and buildings through the Shams Dubai initiative, home and building owners will connect their solar energy systems and export any surplus energy back into DEWA’s grid, smart applications through smart meters and grids, and building the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations through the Green Charger initiative.
The UAE’s wise leadership is committed to achieving sustainability, and ensuring the country’s transformation into a green economy. This is considered a priority in all national strategies.
The UAE Vision 2021 aims to ensure a sustainable environment, while the Dubai Plan 2021 will transform Dubai into a sustainable city with environmental elements that are clean, healthy and sustainable. We strive to achieve the vision of the wise leadership to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future. We make every effort to support international efforts to address the increasing issue of climate change, while meeting growing demands for energy, and mitigating the effect of climate change on the environment and on our natural resources.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere