COP 21: The steady road from the UAE to Paris

The world today is facing an uncertain future. Climate change has been long identified as one of the most important drivers behind this uncertainty

The UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon said: “Ours is the first generation that can end poverty, and the last that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” This means that the time to act is now. It’s a huge boost to the United Nations Conference on climate change known as COP21 that the United States and China announced their plans well ahead.

UAE’s energy transition
Also, it’s equally heartening to see young countries like the United Arab Emirates take concrete steps towards pledging to a greener future. It’s obviously harder for an oil-rich economy to diversify their energy landscape and also speak about a post oil era. We must remember that the UAE sits on 5.9% of the world’s oil reserves and 3.1% of the natural gas wealth.

But the UAE seems to have managed this transition beautifully. The country has pledged to generate 24% of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2021 reinforcing its contribution to climate action. This is a very strong and clear direction of the economy and the industries. The country could well have the distinction of being one of the few oil-rich nations that not only exports oil, but also renewable technology through their investments in wind and solar power globally.

Zayed Future Energy Prize
ABB is proud to support this transition. We have been endowed with the Zayed Future Energy Prize by the country in recognition for our commitment to drive innovation, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

We are partaking an active role in the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, one of the biggest renewable energy projects in the Middle East and North Africa. It is expected to cover an area of more than 40 square kilometers and produce 1,000MW of clean energy when completed in 2030. ABB will integrate power from the solar park with its gas insulated switchgear substation.

Dubai is further planning to invest billions of dollars in clean energy as part of a strategy that could see solar panels on the roofs of all buildings in the city by 2030. To that end, ABB will soon have a low voltage photovoltaic solar system at our Al Quoz factory in Dubai, where a 300 KW system on the roof will power our factory floor.

The UAE is ABB’s regional headquarters for the wider Middle East region and we’re equally proud of our contribution to the growing renewable ambitions. From Jordan to Qatar, we are gratified of enabling a more responsible energy landscape that is sustainable and innovative. The region is home to pioneering organizations like Masdar, who have a clear vision for a greener future.

What will the future look like?
The UAE is building a carbon-neutral city called Masdar City, which will include electric vehicles and energy efficient buildings. Going forward, city planners may have to include solar panels on every roof and electric vehicle chargers at every street.High-speed electric rail and buses would provide transport in urban areas where super-fast chargers will become a regular fixture.

At ABB, we have all of this technology ready and running in different parts of the world. We know the UAE is quick to adopt world-class technology and we are here to support the vision.

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About the author

Frank Duggan

I'm President, Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region and a member of the Group Executive Committee of ABB. I'm also the Managing Director of ABB’s UAE & Oversight Countries’ operations. I serve as Chairman for ABB India Limited. Additionally, as head of account management for ABB, I'm passionate about helping its customers succeed! I'm based in Dubai, UAE.
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