Greater focus on energy efficiency will help reduce costs and aid Middle East energy sector players meet the dual challenge of meeting growing demand for power while reducing carbon footprint, according to industry experts during a thought-provoking plenary session titled ‘Decarbonisation and Sustainable Development Goals’ on the sidelines of Middle East Energy 2020, the 45th edition of the global energy platform, which runs until March 5 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
The session, featuring luminaries for industry powerhouses including Etihad Energy Services Company (ESCO); Siemens and HSBC, also highlighted how efforts across both the public and private sectors for improving energy efficiency should serve as a benchmark for the region to follow, with global energy consumption set to double by 2050.
Pradeep Kumar Singh, Assistant Business Development Director, Etihad Energy Services Company (ESCO), outlined how the UAE is taking the lead in the MENA region to improve energy efficiency, by retrofitting buildings and infrastructure to conserve energy and reduce waste.
“We have retrofitted more than 7700 facilities in the UAE to be energy efficient, saving around 130 Kilowatt tonnes of Co2. We have reduced energy consumption by around 300 kilowatt hours. This is a great start and the right base from which to grow towards the adoption of a more efficient energy consumption pattern,” said Singh, adding that government efforts to reduce the country’s carbon footprint have created opportunities for energy entrepreneurs and new entrants to shape a more efficient future.
“When Etihad ESCO was formed, the mandate was to save 30% energy by 2030. There are 61 government entities in Dubai alone and almost all of these buildings are retrofitted with energy-saving solutions. In 2018 there were only three energy services companies (ESCO) in the market, now because of government policies there are 30 ESCOs. Numerous other companies are moving towards energy efficiency.”
Markus Strohmeier, Senior Executive Vice President, Regions Solutions and Services, Smart Infrastructure, Siemens Middle East, told Middle East Energy delegates that it is important to showcase energy-efficient systems at landmark locations in order to drive interest and raise awareness eventually leading to greater adoption of such measures.
“We (Siemens) have done amazing work at the Expo 2020 site. What we have showcased is a blueprint for a future green smart city. We are out of the construction site now. From a central point you can actually control 137 buildings. Not just the building management system but you can measure, benchmark energy consumption from cooling to water in every building. So, it’s about saving. New cities must be designed for sustainability and efficiency,” said Strohmeier.
“In the UAE we have completed a lot of successful energy efficiency projects such as Wafi Mall and the Dubai Airport, where energy savings are almost above 30 percent,” added
With a number of entrepreneurs and businesses citing the high costs as the main obstacle to developing energy efficient systems, Pri McNair, Regional Head of Client Coverage MENAT, HSBC, highlighted how the banking sector is beginning to tailor financial solutions for those prioritising sustainable ventures.
“We made a commitment to the market that we would invest up to $100bn in sustainable finance and we will reach that goal by 2025. Just three years down the line we are at US$ 52 billion and we have a number of initiatives such as green bonds, social bonds; we are the world’s best sustainable finance brand according to Euromoney,” McNair told the session.
“We had really little in the form of products and solutions three years ago. Now, we have a long list of products bonds, green loans, sustainable loan products, green mortgages, green car loans. We have surely come a long way. When you look at the financial sector generally, in 2007 we had one billion bonds for sustainable initiatives. In 2017, that number was 177 billion. There is a huge desire to support customers who are into low carbon initiatives. The second big part is helping customers transition to low carbon initiatives.”