The political leader of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, recently announced the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which includes a number of renewable energy targets. Perhaps most notable is that all rooftops in the city will have solar panels by 2030. Some might say, however, it’s the goal of solar generating 75% of the city’s energy by 2050 that is more remarkable. On the way to achieving this goal is the requirement that 25% is generated by solar by 2030.
Others might say the biggest story is the low-interest financing for clean energy that will be available because of a $27 billion investment to create the Dubai Green Fund. The size of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project has also been increased to 5,000 MW by 2030.
“The strategy we are launching today will shape the energy sector over the next three decades. Our goal is to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,” explained Sheikh Mohammed. Most of Dubai’s electricity currently is generated by burning natural gas.
The United Arab Emirates has about one-tenth of the world’s oil reserves, so it is very striking that such an emphasis would be placed on the growth of new solar power. Dubai has about 4 billion gallons of oil reserves and a population of approximately 2.1 million. The UAE’s population is 9.3 million.
It is very commendable to set such large, yet achievable, renewable energy goals. In a sense, vigorously supporting clean, renewable energy seems to mesh well with Dubai’s ethos, which seems to be “building rapidly and in an impressive fashion.”
Of course, increasingly, solar power makes sense economically as well as environmentally. “When you have vast amounts of open land and an incredible solar resource like these countries do, the underlying structural driver is to conserve oil and gas for export and produce power from other alternative sources, even in the context of recent declines in commodity prices,” explained Stephen J. Auton-Smith, director at Ernst & Young.
Energy storage wasn’t mentioned, but it often makes sense to add battery systems to fill in gaps in electricity production.
Image Credit: Imre Solt, Wiki Commons
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