UAE backs global energy vision


By Zaher Bitar

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the first Dubai Global Energy Forum 2011, organised by the Dubai Supreme Energy Council under the theme ‘Energy challenges and opportunities for a sustainable future’.

Dubai metroThe opening ceremony of the three-day forum, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, was also attended by Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former Indian President, Nobel laureaute Mohammad Al Baradei, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Mansoour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Adnan Amin, Director General of International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), Simon Cooper, CEO of HSBC Mena, other specialists, academic researchers and scientists in the field of energy and environment, ministers, dignitaries and VIPs.

During his opening speech, Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and CEO and Managing Director of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), said: “Energy, today, is the lifeblood of all communities. It is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development and prosperity. As such, this forum emphasises our willingness to work with the entire world to achieve our common vision to develop a sustainable environmentally friendly planet that leads to the well-being of all mankind.”

The event comes at a time when Dubai is seeking to diversify its energy sources by reducing dependency on fossil fuels. The emirate is also seeking to develop a public-private partnership model to rope in the private sector in utilities.

Al Tayer remarked that the forum, held for the first time in Dubai, will provide a platform for internationally-recognised experts to speak about the opportunities and challenges facing the energy sector today in order to find solutions to enhance sustainable economic development for the whole world.

He added that the challenges of the world are also the UAE’s concerns.

Giving an example of how Dubai is showcasing some of its efforts on sustainable energy, Al Tayer said production and operational efficiency at Dewa’s plants increased up to 20 per cent in 2010 compared to 2000. This was achieved by using less fuel to produce electricity and desalinate water, which reduced carbon emissions by 3,800 million kilos in 2010. In addition, Dewa was the first in the world in terms of reduced electrical losses (3.8 per cent), which is one of the lowest and best ratios in the world, compared with 6.4 per cent in the US, and about 6 per cent in Europe.

He pointed out that Dubai Aluminium Company (Dubal) effectively uses the best international technologies with regard to energy use and carbon emissions. Dubal’s internally-developed DX technology is considered one of the best in the world.

It achieved energy efficiency of almost 95 per cent and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions to one of the lowest levels in the world.

On the environmentally- friendly transportation system, he said: “Dubai Metro is another leading initiative. It is the first environmentally-friendly metro system that has reduced carbon emissions by using 25 per cent less energy consumption. This reduction of carbon is estimated at 42 million kilograms.”

“Being a part of the world, we influence, and are influenced by, all the developments and events around us.

Therefore, the worries of the world and the challenges it faces are part of our interests, which require the collective efforts of the international community to find the appropriate solutions.

Population growth is one of the major challenges to achieving sustainable energy, including the use of alternative and renewable energies.”