Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Big strides for Renewable Energy

Sustainable development, in its comprehensive sense, contributes to improving the quality of life at various levels. It encourages the rational and responsible use of natural resources, striking a balance between the general requirements of development and the sustainability of the ecosystem. A focus on sustainability also drives social development, including job creation. Adopting green practices also advances several economic sectors, particularly traditional, renewable, and clean energy sectors. Sustainability is underpinned by a number of pillars that are essential drivers for all types of development.

With its emphasis on boosting alternative and renewable energy sectors, Dubai continuously explores innovative forward-looking strategies and initiatives to promote the rational use of natural resources and create more solutions that replace traditional energy sources in a manner that supports the Emirate’s sustainable development and bolsters its local and regional position as a role model for sustainable development. This has paved the way for Dubai to set forth an ingenious sustainability vision to conserve natural resources by launching a series of leading initiatives. In its endeavour to achieve these objectives, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to achieve the sustainable development, promote the welfare and happiness of citizens and residents, and shape a sustainable future for generations to come.

DEWA provides Dubai with electricity and water services and continuously enhances the transmission and distribution networks by adopting global best practices and the latest innovative technologies. Through this role, DEWA supports the national efforts to achieve the vision of the country’s wise leadership by launching a variety of green initiatives and distinguished energy projects. These include DEWA’s three flagship initiatives, which support the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world in 3 years through 100 initiatives and 1,000 smart services that enhance the quality of life in Dubai and achieve its sustainable development.

DEWA’s three initiatives are: Shams Dubai to encourage household and building owners to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on rooftops to generate solar power, Smart Applications and Meters, which includes using smart applications to speed service connection and improve response times, and the Green Charger to build the infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles in the Emirate.

"Our objective in the transition to become the smartest city in the world is to achieve the happiness of society and provide instant and seamless smart services anytime, anywhere. Dubai has all the elements to reach top positions globally and has become a leading global hub for business, finance, tourism, green economy and sustainability. The smart grid will contribute to the infrastructure by connecting renewable sources of energy and promoting environmental initiatives supported by qualified staff thus building a sustainable future for Dubai. The strategic objectives of these initiatives support the long-term Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish the UAE as one of the global leaders in this area, and a global hub for exporting and re-exporting green products and technologies, while maintaining a sustainable environment that supports economic growth in the long run. The initiative includes a range of programmes and policies in energy, agriculture, investment, and sustainable transport, in addition to new environmental and construction policies to raise the quality of life in the UAE," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.

"DEWA’s first initiative, Shams Dubai, encourages household and building owners to produce electricity from solar power and enables them to contribute to achieving Dubai’s vision by producing their energy needs using PV panels on rooftops, and connecting them to DEWA’s grid. The electricity is used on site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network. This pioneering step reaffirms Dubai’s leadership in solar energy as a safe and clean renewable energy source. It helps decrease dependence on the dwindling traditional hydrocarbon sources such as oil, gas and coal. Renewable energy guarantees a sustainable future for generations to come. Shams Dubai supports the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to make Dubai the smartest city in the world. Launching the initiative implements council resolution number 46 of 2014, issued by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, to regulate the connection of solar energy to Dubai’s power grid," added Al Tayer.

Shams Dubai consolidates the foundations of Dubai’s environmental sustainability and contributes to achieving the goals of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, launched by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy to diversify energy sources and reduce energy demand by 30% by 2030. The Strategy initially set the percentage of renewable energy in Dubai’s energy mix to be 1% by 2020 and 5% by 2030. Since then, DEWA has raised the target to 7 % by 2020 and 15 % by 2030.

The adoption of solar energy will be markedly rewarding to home and business owners by reducing their electricity bills. Even though installing the PV system requires initial investment, the electricity bill will be notably lower throughout the PV system’s lifecycle, which could extend to 25 years or more with regular maintenance. Other considerable benefits include boosting the property’s market value, curbing, and even eliminating, the carbon footprint, supporting Dubai’s economy and ensuring a sustainable future for the Emirate by allowing solar energy to be produced locally.

The solar panel industry has evolved over time, due to their increasing popularity and adoption rates worldwide and the continued international efforts to provide innovative, efficient and cost-effective technologies in this field. Undoubtedly, this has contributed to lowering the costs associated with solar panels, encouraging more households and businesses to benefit from this sustainable technology. Several other factors also drive the use of solar panels. These include the direction of the rooftop, shadow levels, the rooftop itself, and the equipment size and type. DEWA recommends its customers to consider the advice of one of its certified consultants or contractors to assess the standards for installing a solar power system and obtain proper guidance on the best possible solutions that befit the specific case of each customer’s place of living or work.

To ensure the highest safety levels and adopt the best international standards across all its business activities, DEWA has developed a set of rules and regulations that govern the installation of photovoltaic systems. It has introduced a number of guidelines to guarantee the use of the safest, most reliable equipment. DEWA also provides its customers with the ability to benefit from the expertise of its accredited consultants and contractors, which, in turn, boosts safety standards and helps customers to make informed decisions in purchasing the proper equipment and installing and maintaining the solar energy system.

Solar energy experts expect Shams Dubai to be widely received in Dubai and that it gets a lot of support from public and private organisations for its financial savings and for its role in reducing the carbon footprint.

Shams Dubai supports the UAE’s national outlook, the vision of its wise leadership, and the increasing desire of Dubai residents to scale down their carbon footprint and reduce carbon dioxide emissions resulting from power use. These efforts support Dubai’s endeavour to create a healthy, safe and sustainable environment for present and future generations.  –End-

Image by: Zawya

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