UAE’s push for low-carbon growth lauded

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Dubai: Industry experts, as part of Earth Day celebrations, lauded the UAE’s concrete push for low-carbon growth by increasing its focus on renewables.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day — celebrated every April 22 — a global movement that tackles climate change. This year’s theme, ‘It’s Our Turn To Lead’, focuses on economic growth and sustainability, on pushing citizens and organisations from divesting from fossil fuels and putting their money into renewable energy solutions.

In light of the occasion, Alliance Francaise Dubai, (French cultural centre) hosted a conference on climate change and environmental issues. France will host the 2015 Paris Climate Conference in December, where countries will meet to sign a global agreement on their ambitions and plans for carbon reduction.

Ivano Iannelli, CEO of the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, said the UAE has taken the lead in the region in greening its economy in many concrete ways.

“In the UAE, we do a lot more than is communicated because essentially when we look at the infrastructure, there are constant improvements that do not happen anywhere else in the world,” Iannelli told Gulf News.

“For example, in the electricity generation, in power distribution, these are all success stories. Dubai produces power from fossil fuels at one of the lowest CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions. Dubai produces aluminium at one of the lowest emissions globally as well,” he added.

Earlier this year, Dubai unveiled major projects signalling the first step towards shifting to renewables such as the grid-connected solar rooftop programmes for households and the electric charging stations to fuel demand for electric and hybrid cars.

According to the Mena Solar Outlook 2015, 2015 will be a breakthrough year for solar energy in the Mena region, with more than 1,500 megawatt worth of solar projects expected to be tendered and with the UAE continuing its share in leading the industry.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) just this Sunday announced the tender for the 800 megawatt third phase of the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park, which is by far the largest project that will be deployed by just one company in Mena, Vahid Fotuhi, President of the Middle East Solar Industry Association, said Dubai’s concrete actions are spurring ripple effects across the country.

“Now Abu Dhabi has launched a 100-MW project called Noor 1. And just a few weeks ago, Fewa [Federal Electricity and Water Authority[ for the northern emirates announced that they, too, will build another 100MW of solar in the next 12 months. So what started as a Dubai initiative has now mushroomed across the emirates and even Sharjah, through Bee’ah, is now looking at solar,” Fotuhi said.