UAE can be global leader in renewable energy, says report

UAE can be global leader in renewable energy, says report
Published: 20 September 2018 - 9:27 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Trends Research & Advisory and Washington’s Stimson Centre, two leading think tanks, have co-produced the UAE Energy Diplomacy report on exporting renewable energy to the ‘global south’.

It builds on the investment in the sector that the country has been making over the last decade through institutions like Masdar, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

The report provides context for renewable energy sector development in the UAE, identifies key lessons-learned from the UAE’s first decade of renewable energy leadership and engagement, and explores specific opportunities for the UAE’s leadership to further share these lessons with the Global South.

It aims to support the UAE in strategically expanding its renewable energy diplomacy and investment throughout the Global South, in particular Southeast Asia, in order to lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future.

Commenting on the release, Dr. Ahmed Thani Al Hamli, TRENDS President and founder, said, "In 2021, the UAE will be celebrating our achievements of 50 years as an independent nation. The phenomenal growth and development has required the strategic use of our extensive energy resources.

"The UAE is of the view that national and global growth cannot be at the expense of environment through non-sustainable sources. This makes innovation in sustainable energy a national priority. As this report shows the UAE’s extensive experience in sustainable energy provides opportunities for further support the world’s quest for clean, renewable energy for sustainable development," he added.

Dr. Al Hamli went on to say that the UAE will remain committed to clean energy at home and will use its knowledge and skills to support the globe through clean energy diplomacy. "It has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy innovation. Its record-setting prices for utility scale solar to attract international admiration after Abu Dhabi and Dubai achieved solar prices below US$0.03 per kilowatt-hour," he explained.

This breakthrough served as a global bellwether to remove any remaining doubts that solar power can compete with fossil fuels and put the UAE front in discussions of renewable energy.

Lincoln Bloomfield, Chairman Emiritus of Stimson Centre and Non-Resident Fellow with TRENDS, said, "With this report, the TRENDS-Stimson collaboration has reached a new level of impact. The study embodies both TRENDS’ and Stimson’s specialty in seeking innovative approaches to global problems, in this case a ‘trans-regional’ solution connecting UAE’s leading expertise with the needs of a major economic and environmental ecosystem in Southeast Asia."

Internationally, the UAE’s spirited diplomatic support for the deployment of renewable energy projects in the Global South have placed it on equal footing with global powers such as the EU, US, and China.

It achieved its success with far fewer resources at its disposal and thus serves as a standard bearer for developing countries. This success positions the UAE well to significantly expand efforts to promote sustainable development in the Global South and lead on renewable energy innovation.

Brian Finlay, President and CEO of the Stimson Centre, "If staged wisely, UAE innovation in renewables has the potential to both fundamentally reorder global energy markets while promoting sustainable development across the Global South.”

“This report provides an early roadmap upon which policymakers and industry may choose to initiate smart pilot ventures notably in the burgeoning energy markets of Southeast Asia."

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