Abu Dhabi’s DoE issues 1st district cooling license to achieve energy efficiency

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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Saadiyat Cooling
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Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy (DoE) has issued its first district cooling license to Saadiyat Cooling, which serves Saadiyat Island, including Saadiyat Beach and Saadiyat Cultural District.

According to DoE, a second license will be given to Saadiyat District Cooling, which serves New York University Abu Dhabi. Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, NYUAD, and Manarat Al Saadiyat are all served by Saadiyat District Cooling and Saadiyat Cooling.

The National Central Cooling Company, also known as Tabreed, announced in December that it would purchase two district cooling units on Saadiyat Island from UAE’s Aldar Properties for $262 million.

In September 2019, the DoE released district cooling regulations and district cooling applicability regulations, making Abu Dhabi the first jurisdiction in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to establish a district cooling regulatory system.

Mr. Mohammad Juma bin Jarsh Al Falasi, DoE Undersecretary pointed out that “the district cooling industry is a key area of our mandate, and with that in mind, we issued the district cooling regulations to streamline operations in the sector, shift the focus squarely to the consumer, boost Abu Dhabi’s economic growth and champion sustainable practices and energy efficiency.”

District cooling

District cooling is a centralized cooling production and distribution system that employs an enclosed underground pipe network to serve multiple buildings within the same area. The system is commonly used to cool residential, industrial, and mixed-use buildings, as well as densely populated areas. When it comes to air conditioning, it is the most environmentally friendly option, saving up to 40 percent more energy and lowering carbon dioxide emissions than traditional cooling systems.

In February, DoE announced the start of the technical panel review process for the district cooling technical code and district cooling metering code.

This initiative seeks to ensure that the views of all stakeholders in the Emirate are taken into account while the code is being reviewed. The technical codes, which was published in March 2020, are performance-based specifications with defined key performance indicators. According to DoE, they seek to encourage energy efficiency, sound water management, service reliability, and customer satisfaction.

The report suggested that “implementing the DoE regulations in these two schemes promises to deliver substantial benefits to the emirate of Abu Dhabi, such as a possible reduction in consumption fees for more than 100 residential units in Saadiyat Beach Residence.”

Other benefits include cost transparency, increased capacity for customers, licensee commitment to update district cooling plants and improve service standards, and licensee commitment to investing in more efficient technologies that enable the use of recycled water at these schemes, sharing any cost savings with consumers in the future, DoE added.

Related: First in GCC; UAE’s Aldar Properties adopts EPRA’s BPR for disclosures