Renewable sources to meet 50% of UAE energy needs by 2050

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Brakah Nuclear Power Plant Image
The Barakah Nuclear Power Plant

The UAE is expected to meet more than 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, thanks to the addition of nuclear and solar power to the grid.

Mr Awaidha Al Marar, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, said this while speaking at a panel discussion organized by Goals House as part of UN General Assembly virtual meetings.

The country has set a target of meeting at least half of its renewable energy needs from clean sources by 2050. The UAE accounts for 4% of global crude production, much of which comes from Abu Dhabi’s oilfields. As the country strives to free up oil for export, it is diversifying its energy mix, adding solar and nuclear sources to its grid. In the meantime, Abu Dhabi, its capital, expects to generate half of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2030.

At a time of record low oil prices, the UAE had also accelerated nationwide efforts to increase its renewable energy capability. In April, on the basis of levelling electricity prices, a proposed 2 gigawatt solar system in Abu Dhabi, the oil hub for the UAE, obtained the world’s lowest tariff.

A subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), said it earned a cost-competitive solar PV tariff of 4.97 fils per kilowatt hour (1.35 US cents / kWh). According to EWEC, the Dhafrah project, which will be constructed through an independent power producer model, will cover an area of 20 square kilometers and could power 110,000 households in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi’s total solar power generation capacity will stand at 3.2 GW with the addition of the new project to the grid.

Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant has also been connected to the grid by the UAE, with the plant currently running at 50 per cent of its capacity. The power plant was connected to the grid last month.

Mr Awaidha Al Marar
Abu Dhabi Department of Energy

“We’ve achieved affordable energy and water for 100 percent. We’ve achieved almost 98.5 percent with regard to fuel for cooking. The issue of carbon dioxide, we are still on the border average. But I can tell you good a news that when the nuclear plant is fully operated and the new [solar plant] Al Dhafrah is in operation as well, that will stabilise the carbon dioxide target emission.”

As part of its commitments to the UN Sustainability Development Goals, the UAE has been redoubling its efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions.