AED200 billion energy strategy shows the UAE is serious about greener future

ABU DHABI. KAZINFORM - An English-language publisher has said that the UAE's announcement to invest up to AED200 billion ($54.4 billion) over the next seven years in an updated national energy strategy – that includes hydrogen – is a tangible and public commitment to developing the country as an energy hub, WAM reports.

«At a time when calls for concrete action from governments are growing louder, it is hard to argue against the significance of an investment that translates to an average of $7.7 billion year,» The National said in an editorial on Wednesday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said the plan aimed to make the UAE a «producer and source of low-emission hydrogen … by developing supply chains and creating hydrogen hubs to develop this promising industry, in addition to establishing a specialised national research and development centre for the hydrogen sector».

The daily continued, «Indeed, it is a sector that shows much promise. The development of a scalable hydrogen industry will provide investment opportunities for homegrown and foreign companies, who can take advantage of the UAE’s progressive business environment. Developing cleaner ways to produce, distribute and use hydrogen is knowledge that will not just benefit this country, but could be used collaboratively by other nations who are on the path to developing their own net-zero strategies.

«And when taken in context with the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050 – particularly its continuing work on developing solar power – hydrogen will play an important part in the country’s energy mix for years to come.»

Monday’s Cabinet commitment also builds on much of the tangible work already being undertaken by various entities in the UAE. For example, in May, Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company Masdar said it had nearly doubled its clean energy capacity and carbon dioxide displacement in two years. The company also grew its renewable energy capacity to 20 gigawatts in 2022, producing 18,000-gigawatt hours of clean energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 10 million tonnes.

That month, Masdar also signed an initial agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, to cooperate on a major research project that will lead to the tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

«This latest investment commitment comes at a time when question marks hang over funding for alternative energies to mitigate climate change. In February, IRENA released a report that said although renewables investment globally is rising, it is not enough to meet its 1.5°C temperature-rise scenario. It also claimed that investments were not on track to achieve the goals set by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,» the editorial added.

That assessment, when contrasted with the considerable investment just promised by the UAE, should focus minds on the task ahead.

The Abu Dhabi-based daily concluded by saying,»Hydrogen’s allure as a source of zero-emission energy is a strong one. To turn that promise into energy that can power businesses, transport and homes will take years of urgent work. The UAE has already fired the starting pistol in this race and is showing that when it comes to true climate action, it is already on its way.«

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