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Interview

H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Bin Butti Al Hamed – Chairman, Abu Dhabi Energy Authority

“We aim to set the energy sector in Abu Dhabi as a new benchmark in efficiency, safety and economy” – H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Bin Butti Al Hamed, Chaiman of the Abu Dhabi Energy Authority on the target set by the authority.

Your Excellency, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohanned Bin Butti Al Hamed, how would you define the role of the Abu Dhabi Energy Authority and its main ambitions and targets?

“We aim to lead a reliable and efficient energy sector and achieve world class end-use efficiency.”

The Energy Authority develops the general energy sector policies and strategies for the Emirate with a focus on ensuring future energy sector requirements are met while maintaining security of supply and achieving economic, environmental and societal sustainability. We develop energy mix policies and strategies and oversee the development and operation of an efficient, safe and economic energy sector; we aim to lead a reliable and efficient energy sector and achieve world class end-use efficiency.

The UAE Vision 2021 seeks to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global role model in achieving the highest standards of energy efficiency, and increasing its share of renewable and clean energy. How does the Abu Dhabi Energy Authority support this Vision?

The Energy Authority is committed to the realization of Abu Dhabi’s plan where a number of key programmes are already defined for the energy sector with clear targets to achieve Abu Dhabi’s sustainability goals. We work in close coordination with stakeholders from all stakeholders to set clear objectives, policies and strategies to effectively support the implementation of Abu Dhabi’s plan.

What is the status quo of Abu Dhabi in this Vision and what remains to be achieved by the Emirate?

Abu Dhabi has been leading in renewable and clean energy projects. Our current gas-dominant energy mix will face a major change in the next five years with the opening of the Barakah nuclear power plant with a total of 5.6 GW. In addition, the sector is progressing Abu Dhabi’s second grid-scale renewable energy project with the Sweihan solar PV farm. In addition, the energy sector is also progressing with the development of embedded distributed generation through the recent launch of small-scale solar PV energy netting regulation by the Regulation & Supervision Bureau. Furthermore, we are ensuring the sector is ready as electric vehicles are becoming more available as the Regulation & Supervision Bureau has recently issued the technical regulations for electric vehicle supply equipment which will set robust foundations for the EV charging infrastructure in the Emirate. The Energy Authority is at the heart of this major transformation of the energy sector where we play a key role as the policy maker.

In November 2016, you travelled to Singapore to explore co-operation opportunities with the Singaporean Energy Authority. What experience, know-how and technology are you seeking to source via international partners?

We aim to set the energy sector in Abu Dhabi as a new benchmark in efficiency, safety and economy. Hence, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Singapore and other international partners. We have clear goals in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and customer excellence that we have set; we will look to engage with international partners in terms of exchanging knowledge and experience in the energy sector.

Given that Abu Dhabi’s energy consumption rose from 29,237,489 Mwh in 2012 to 37,345,510 MWh (Source: Statistical Yearbook of Abu Dhabi 2016) and the trajectory goes upward, to what extend can Abu Dhabi really switch to renewable and clean energy and what will be the role of fossil based energy in Abu Dhabi’s future?

Abu Dhabi has set clear goals for conservation and work is ongoing to achieve the set targets for end-use efficiency. The Energy Authority is leading the development of an Emirate wide demand side management policy framework which includes the various stakeholders and sectors contributing to improving the end-use efficiency of electricity and water. We foresee that efficiency improvements will play a role in meeting part of future demand growth. At the same time, we are mindful of the role consumers will play with the wider adoption of embedded solar PV and the Regulation & Supervision Bureau has published the regulations for small-scale solar PV energy netting.

At the same time, Abu Dhabi will continue to progress its strategy to diversify its energy mix with the introduction of clean energy through the Brakah nuclear power plant, in addition to the second grid-scale renewable energy project at Sweihan which will follow the IPP model.

Abu Dhabi is progressing its clean and renewable energy agenda while ensuring end-use efficiency is tackled and consumers are allowed to participate in the energy sector. We are determined to set Abu Dhabi as a benchmark for energy sector efficiency, clean and renewable energy.

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