Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy Department of Energy towards a sustainable future

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy  Department of Energy towards a sustainable future

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy Department of Energy towards a sustainable future

/ News & Interviews / Monday, 03 December 2018 07:31

The UAE is giving much attention today to sustainable development especially in order to maintain their economy at a competitive level. For its part, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been dedicated to ensure achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) under its Agenda 2030. In an exclusive interview with Energy Review, the DOE elaborated on the 2030 vision it established for a greener country from signing partnerships to the importance of issuing e-licenses, and more steps they are initiating to be considered as leaders in future energy and sustainability.

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy (Abu Dhabi) hosted a retreat entitled ‘A New Energy era’. Can you outline to us some of the major viewpoints and projections that were made in relation to building a sustainable economy in the UAE?

The two-day Zayed Energy Retreat ‘A New Energy Era’ was held to discuss the Department of Energy’s plans to develop Abu Dhabi into a sustainable and competitive economy. The event was regarded as a landmark in the journey of Abu Dhabi away from a reliance on hydrocarbons as a source for the emirate’s energy requirements.

During the retreat, the department presented a strategic plan designed to ensure a unified approach to the creation of a viable road map for the future, with all stakeholders having a part to play. This strategic plan is based on the three main principles of security, sustainability and affordability. Eight pillars were identified as part of this plan to create and promote the future vision of the Abu Dhabi’s energy sector under Vision 2030;  follow a supply security, environmentally sustainable and affordable direction; use natural resources to maximum value in relation to the economy; encourage and promote continuous development; ensure transparency in reporting; promote capacity building and the development of local skills; create a functional operation model and to spread awareness and understanding of the department’s goals to customers and partners.

The UAE leadership has set out a strategic vision in terms of achieving the sustainability goals set out by the UN. How much of a key enabler will The Department of Energy be in helping the UAE execute its goals?

Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the seventh UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) under its Agenda 2030. Among its key targets are to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, to substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. The UAE is committed to meeting the UN’s energy goals and the Department of Energy is playing an integral role in ensuring that this happens.

At the start of 2009, on the eve of World Future Energy Summit, the Abu Dhabi leadership pledged that 7% of its energy would be clean. At that time none of the capital’s energy was derived from renewable sources. Since then, we have seen the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi and the coming online of projects that include Masdar City, which aims to be the world's most sustainable eco-neighbourhood, and Abu Dhabi’s Shams Solar Park - the first utility-scale solar plant in the Middle East.

As the regulator of the UAE capital’s energy industry, the department is reaching out to all energy sector stakeholders– whether oil and gas producers, renewable energy generators, or major industry consumers - to embrace a unified approach to reforming the capital’s energy sector. In 2017, the UAE launched ‘Energy Strategy 2050,’ the country’s first unified energy strategy based on supply and demand, which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2050. It also aims to reduce the carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent and increase consumption efficiency by 40 per cent. In undertaking these measure, the strategy aims to both massively reduce its dependency on unstainable natural resources and to save AED 700 billion over the next three decades.

At GITEX, The DOE launched electronic licensing (e-license) for small-scale regulated activities. Can you outline to us what the main benefits of this new e-license will entail? What other innovations, solutions and partnerships did The Department of Energy announce during GITEX?

A main component of the Department of Energy’s mandate is to adopt the latest technologies to simplify procedures and processes for service users and to increase the number of transactions carried out on smart devices. This policy both enhances the customer experience and supports the leadership’s vison of transitioning to a smart city complete with smart government services.

The advantages of this policy can be seen with the issuance of Department of Energy licenses, with two-year licenses easily and efficiently accessible through the department’s website. In a much-simplified procedure, advance notification of licence renewal has been reduced from 28 days to just two days, with the e-licence fee-exempt for two years. The launch of the ‘Fast and Flexible License Initiative for Small Organisation Activities’ also helps create a unified database of all suppliers and ensures the quality of services provided by them. It is a tangible result of the department’s ongoing efforts to provide accurate and fast e-services and to reduce customer visits to service centres.

Other innovations that have joined the department’s list of smart and e-services are licensing and regulation services, the Water Quality Regulation Reporting System (WQRRS), the electronic system for Company Registration, and e-tendering.

Can you elaborate on the guidelines you’ve established regarding your Legislation and Compliance blueprint?

Licence compliance analysis is based on a Red Amber Green (RAG) assessment, where Red signifies non-compliance, Amber refers to partial compliance and Green denotes compliance with the condition.

Compliance against an item will realise one (1) compliance point, partial compliance a half (0.5) point and non-compliance will score zero (0).

Can you outline to us what is the primary objective and role of the DOE in delivering Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 plan?

Established to be the new regulator of the UAE capital’s energy industry, the Department of Energy is playing a pivotal role in meeting Vision 2030’s target to ‘Enhance Energy Security to Meet Future Demand’ – a key objective under its pillar to ‘Develop a Sufficient and Resilient Infrastructure Capable of Supporting the Anticipated Economic Growth.’ It is working to do this by formulating a ‘holistic road map’ – a framework that recognises the importance of a unified approach from all key energy sector stakeholders in meeting the vision’s goals.

Comprising complex and interrelated trade-offs, the road map balances six objective requirements: preservation of oil and gas resources, economic development, social impact, security of supplies, cost competitiveness and environmental sustainability. So intertwined are its multitude of factors that the department is calling on all energy sector stakeholders– whether oil and gas producers, renewable energy generators, or major industry consumers –  to become an integral part of this road map.

 The Department of Energy is committed to building a sustainable economy in the UAE by working collegiately with all energy sector stakeholders to reform the energy sector and by achieving energy sustainability through harnessing orchestrated efforts with best international practices. It is through this approach that the department has already established itself as a leader in future energy and sustainability.

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