Famous for their thriving tourism industry and financial sector, Dubai is one of the most famous places in the world. If their highly ambitious conservation plans are any indication, they will soon be known as a world leader in the green economy.
Conservation in Dubai is less than five years old but is undergoing explosive growth. Taher Diab, the Sr. Director of Strategy and Planning for the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, spoke with Low Carbon Links to give us an insider perspective on what’s happening.
The guiding vision for Dubai’s is simple and powerful: to become a role model to the world in energy security and efficiency.
“Not many people know this, but Dubai is actually a net importer of natural gas” said Taher “So conservation is very important to us.”
Aggressive conservation targets
Dubai has incredibly aggressive conservation targets and their Supreme Council of Energy is tasked with reducing energy (including transportation) and water consumption to 30% below 2011 levels by 2030. When you consider that Dubai is growing at a rate of 3-5% per-year, this is a very ambitious mandate.
Because of the scale and scope of the conservation industry in Dubai, along with excellent government support, there is enormous potential for building a thriving energy efficiency industry. At the rate the conservation industry is growing in Dubai, they are well on their way to achieving their ambition of becoming the global hub for the green economy.
Large scale solutions easy to implement
“The structure of our government makes it very easy to implement large scale holistic solutions,” said Taher. “We don’t have siloed agencies with competing mandates. We have one decision making body, and so when they mandate something, there is very little in the way from it happening and that it will be completely integrated.”
Taher related that in Dubai it’s common to have block after block of large government owned buildings. The practical benefit of this is that contractors can come in and retrofit up to sixty different buildings, right next to each other, all in one batch.
One significant measure for energy reduction in these buildings is space cooling. Because Dubai gets so hot, there is a tremendous amount of energy used for cooling. Making sure buildings have proper air sealing and insulation, as well as efficient cooling equipment, represents a potential source of significant energy savings.
Solar an emerging energy source
Dubai’s energy strategy also goes beyond just saving energy. Solar energy and clean coal are emerging as important energy sources. Because of the scale of their solar ambitions, and living in a sunny area of the world, Dubai is able to get solar energy at a cost of less than $.06 USD per kWh.
By 2030, Dubai also plans to have 15% of their energy needs come from solar and 7% from clean coal.
“People are coming from around the world to see and understand the model we’ve put in place,” said Taher Diab. “When they see what we’ve managed to do, it creates a wow effect. When we tell them we’ve only been operating since 2011, they tell us what we’re doing is exemplary.”
About the Author
Jeff Graham is an energy conservation enthusiast who has worked or consulted with BC Hydro, Efficiency Nova Scotia, C3, Waterloo North Hydro and Carbon Management Canada. A specialist in digital marketing for conservation programs, Jeff currently lives in British Columbia with his wife and four children. If you have an idea for a story, reach out to him on Twitter, LinkedIn or email –firstname.lastname@example.org