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Wednesday, 17 April 2024

His Excellency Sharif Al Olama Inaugurates Solar and Clean Energy Conference

His Excellency Eng Sharif Al Olama, Undersecretary for Energy and Petroleum Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI), inaugurated the Solar and Clean Energy Conference as part of the World Future Energy Summit 2024, being held in Abu Dhabi. He stressed the importance of collaboration to achieve a robust, sustainable energy transition that is currently a high priority on the world’s agenda.

In his speech, His Excellency Eng Al Olama said: “The energy transition must be orchestrated to propel economies forward while at the same time curb emissions and uphold energy security. Despite commendable efforts in this domain, the momentum must be amplified. Energy poverty, particularly in many parts of the developing world, is a sad reality. We possess the means, the technologies, and the expertise required. Empowering those currently lacking access to energy is not merely an issue of equity and compassion; it is the cornerstone for our collective prosperity and sustainability.”

He added: “The energy landscape is undergoing profound transformations, presenting novel avenues for decisive leadership and action. The UAE has been at the forefront of this ongoing energy transition in the region and among other nations reliant on fossil fuels. We proudly emerged as the first in the GCC region to ratify the Paris Agreement, underscoring our commitment to fostering a green economy driven by a low-carbon energy paradigm. Subsequently, we embarked on a systematic endeavor to diversify our energy portfolio.

“Substantial investments have been channeled into enhancing our clean energy capacity. We have allocated over AED 600 billion to local clean energy initiatives. Consequently, our clean energy capacity is on course to reach 19.8 GW by 2030.”

His Excellency Eng Al Olama noted that the UAE is actively spearheading the deployment of renewable energy solutions, with numerous mega-projects already operational and others in various stages of development. Today, the UAE boasts three of the world's largest and most cost-effective solar plants. In response to the call made by the COP28 Presidency, it committed to tripling its renewables capacity by 2030.

He added: “In addition to renewables, we have invested in nuclear energy. The launch of the 5,600-megawatt Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, with its fourth and final reactor almost online, exemplifies our commitment to leveraging nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Once fully operational, the plant will cater to up to 25 percent of our electricity needs from a carbon-neutral source.

“We have also made considerable strides in advancing clean hydrogen technologies to enhance the viability of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source. In this regard, we launched the National Hydrogen Strategy 2050 that aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a producer and supplier of low-emission hydrogen by 2031 through the development of supply chains and the establishment of hydrogen oases and a dedicated national research and development center for hydrogen technologies. Furthermore, the UAE stands as the regional trailblazer in establishing a commercial-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage facility. With an annual CO2 capture capacity of 800,000 tons and plans for a fivefold expansion by 2030, we are committed to significantly mitigating carbon emissions.”

He concluded: “Building on these endeavors and others, we have embarked on a national drive towards net zero emissions by 2050. To realize this vision, the UAE has pledged an additional investment of US$ 50 billion in clean energy ventures, both domestically and internationally, over the next few years.”

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