UAE steps on energy transition pedal

04 July 2023
The UAE will triple renewable energy capacity by 2030

Jennifer Aguinaldo
Energy & technology editor

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The UAE cabinet has approved multiple measures and strategies to accelerate the country’s energy transition.

These cover the production and export of clean hydrogen, the adoption of electric vehicles and preliminary approval to test fully autonomous cars on UAE roads.

The UAE National Energy Strategy has also been updated, with a pledge to triple the contribution of renewable energy to the overall generation capacity across the country by 2030.

This will require investments of between $40bn and $54bn over the next seven years.

The approval of a national hydrogen strategy is crucial for the planned multibillion-dollar schemes that will produce clean hydrogen in Abu Dhabi and export it globally.

It could pave the way to the creation of a supply chain, including the local production of electrolysers and research and development facilities to accommodate plans and technologies.

A national electric vehicle policy will also help organise the sector by establishing a nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers.

Granting a preliminary licence for China’s WeRide to test fully autonomous vehicles on UAE roads is equally significant, following several pilot projects mostly confined to designated communities such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi or Dubai Downtown.

The new measures suggest a shift in the country’s policy-making routine. A national approach to rolling out these technologies marks a diversion from the emirate-level policies and initiatives that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are implementing separately. 

The cohesiveness of such a move is tantamount to stepping on the metaphoric energy transition gas. It is a welcome development that aims to accelerate the country’s transition towards clean or cleaner energy, which invariably includes literal natural gas.

It may require some adjustments among emirate-level policy-making units regarding existing regulations or policy drafts, and among project stakeholders in terms of compliance.

For instance, unified electric vehicle charging fees and the speedy establishment of an extensive charging network across the various emirates may now be possible. 

Crucially, these policies provide positive signals for investors, some of whom are still wondering if there is enough political will to back the country’s Paris Agreement commitments beyond the upcoming Cop28 summit.

Image: Pixabay

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