Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) attaches great importance to achieving a balance between providing electricity and water services to more than one million customers in Dubai according to the highest international standards; reducing carbon emissions to protect the environment; and contributing to achieving sustainable development. DEWA also supports the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which seeks to enhance interaction with components of the economic sector in Dubai and the UAE, promoting competitiveness and enhancing sustainable development. This is by investing in the unique and distinguished strategic location of Dubai, and its advanced infrastructure, so that it remains the preferred destination for major international companies.
On World Environment Day, held this year under the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, highlighted DEWA’s commitment to supporting the vision and directives of the wise leadership to protect the environment and natural resources to preserve the right of future generations to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment.
Al Tayer pointed out that climate change is the greatest threat to the future of humanity. It affects many aspects of life, including public health, food and water availability, air quality, living spaces, wildlife, and biodiversity. Therefore, all societies and sectors must work together to face this challenge and its implications. Within the framework of the Paris Agreement and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs), COP28 aims to urgently transform and accelerate climate action to meet global commitments. The conference will focus on providing concrete and practical solutions to ensure that the rise in global temperature does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. Achieving this goal requires concerted efforts to reduce global emissions.
“The declaration of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, for 2023 as the Year of Sustainability in the UAE, during which the country is hosting the COP28 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai Expo City, reflects the great importance that the wise leadership attaches to sustainability. The foundations of sustainability were laid by the late Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and they are the basic pillar for all social, economic and environmental development plans. The UAE is a major hub for supporting global climate action, and a model to follow in achieving a balance between economic development and preserving the environment. It is among the largest countries in the world investing in clean and renewable energy projects, and the first country in the MENA region to launch a strategic initiative to achieve Net-Zero by 2050,” said Al Tayer.
“At DEWA, we are guided by the forward-looking vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to support the sustainability process and accelerate climate action through major and innovative initiatives and projects for renewable and clean energy. This is in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100% of Dubai’s total power production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. The share of clean energy in Dubai has reached about 15.7% of the total energy mix. We will continue to implement more innovative projects to strengthen the role of the UAE and Dubai in supporting global efforts to address the repercussions of climate change and global warming and ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for all,” added Al Tayer.
Increasing the share of clean, renewable energy
DEWA continues implementing the phases of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world, using the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, with investments totalling AED 50 billion. When completed, the solar park will reduce more than 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The current production capacity of the solar park is 2,327 megawatts (MW) using solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power technologies. This clean energy constitutes about 15.7% of the total energy mix in Dubai, which today reached 14,817 MW.
DEWA implemented the green hydrogen project at the Solar Park in cooperation with Expo 2020 Dubai and Siemens Energy. The project, which is the first of its kind in the MENA region, to produce hydrogen using solar energy, supports the UAE’s efforts to achieve global competitiveness in the green hydrogen market, and contributes to attaining competitive prices in the production of green hydrogen, which is mainly done by electrolysis of water using renewable energy.
Hydroelectric power plant in Hatta
The 250 MW hydroelectric power plant with stored water energy technology implemented by DEWA in Hatta, with a storage capacity of 1,500 megawatt hours, is the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf region. The plant will use stored water in the Hatta dam and another dam built in the mountainous region. Advanced turbines based on clean energy produced at the Solar Park will work in reverse to pump water from the Hatta Dam to the Upper Dam. When needed, the turbines will be used to generate electricity and supply DEWA’s grid by using the water coming from the upper dam to the Hatta dam. The power plant has a turnaround efficiency of 78.9% and 90 seconds in response to demand.
DEWA’s R&D Centre at the Solar Park focuses on four key operations, including producing electricity production using clean and solar energy, integration of smart grids, energy efficiency, and water. The core areas of the Centre’s work are based on three enablers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, drones, 3D printing, and advanced materials), space technologies, and energy systems analytics. The R&D Centre includes 48 male and female researchers, including 32 PhD and MA holders. Since its launch, the Centre has published 154 research papers in international scientific conferences and international peer-reviewed journals and periodicals.
The Innovation Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a global incubator for innovation in the energy and water sectors and provides a pioneering experience for visitors to learn about the latest innovations in various fields of clean and renewable energy. Visitors can explore the latest innovations in clean energy technologies, watch pioneering shows using drones and hologram technology, and try several interactive experiences, including the autonomous bus ride. Using Metaverse technology, the Centre takes visitors on a virtual journey across the solar park.
EV Green Charger initiative
DEWA launched the EV Green Charger initiative to establish an infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations and promote green mobility and contribute to making Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. DEWA has completed the installation of more than 370 charging stations across Dubai and plans to install 1,000 charging stations by 2025. DEWA allows all customers, including those unregistered, to benefit from the service through the Guest Mode feature.
DEWA Space-D programme
DEWA’s Space-D programme contributes to raising the development, maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks. It improves the efficiency of DEWA’s generation, transmission, and distribution divisions by monitoring solar power plants and enhancing the accuracy of generation predictions. This is achieved through forecasting weather patterns, seawater temperature and salinity, as well as monitoring of electricity transmission lines. Additionally, it aids in detecting water leaks and identifying any changes in the infrastructure, further optimising DEWA’s operations. As part of the Space-D programme, DEWA launched two nanosatellites DEWA-SAT1 in January 2022, and DEWA-SAT2 in April 2023. DEWA is the first utility in the world to launch nanosatellites to improve its operations.
The DEWA Sustainability Youth Ambassadors Programme
DEWA has launched the DEWA Sustainability Youth Ambassadors Programme, in cooperation with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). This is in line with DEWA’s efforts to support the youth and promote their participation in the sustainable development process and part of its activities during the Year of Sustainability. The programme includes three workshops, each lasting from two to three days, in addition to a closing session in September 2023. Twenty young male and female employees from various divisions of DEWA are participating in the programme. They learn about the multiple aspects of sustainability in addition to acquiring skills in innovation and effective communications, enabling them to be effective ambassadors of sustainability who contribute to achieving DEWA’s vision to become a globally leading sustainable innovative corporation committed to achieving net zero by 2050.
Smart machines for recycling
DEWA has installed smart recycling machines in a number of its buildings to recycle plastic bottles and aluminium cans, in order to encourage employees to apply the recycling idea to support its efforts in adopting circular economy concepts. The smart recycling machine is operated through the employee’s smart office app, where the machine reads the QR code on the smart application, and the employee is awarded points for each recycling operation to enter the draw and win valuable monthly prizes. From the installation in October 2022 until the end of April 2023, DEWA’s employees recycled 221,900 plastic and aluminium cans.
My Sustainable Living Programme
The My Sustainable Living programme, which was launched in 2018, helps customers to monitor their electricity and water consumption proactively and online without needing to contact DEWA. The programme uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and behavioural science. It includes several key features, including a dashboard that enables customers to compare their monthly electricity and water use with the average consumption of similarly efficient homes, and make informed decisions based on current data with other highly efficient homes. Customers get monthly reports on consumption. Until the end of 2022, 578,000 residential customers are enrolled in the programme.
7 Green Buildings
DEWA is one of the first organisations in Dubai to adopt the concept of green buildings. In 2019, DEWA achieved a global milestone, represented by Dubai getting the Platinum Rating in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Cities certification awarded by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). This makes Dubai the first city in the Arab world and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to receive this prestigious certification. DEWA currently has seven green buildings with LEED ratings.
ISO for Energy Management system
In 2018, DEWA received the ISO 50001 for its energy management system at its headquarters, recognising its efforts for promoting and managing energy efficiency. DEWA integrates energy efficiency into its management practices to increase awareness of energy use, reinforce good energy management behaviours and make better use of existing energy-consuming assets and processes. It also helps DEWA identify its priorities by adopting the latest energy-saving technologies. DEWA’s headquarters was awarded the ISO certification 50001 based on the audit conducted by the Bureau Veritas, one of the world’s leading and specialised organisations in this field. DEWA intends to implement the system in its operations and buildings.
Changing DEWA’s logo to green in 2023
DEWA changed the colour of its logo to green until the end of 2023. This aims to raise awareness about the ‘Year of Sustainability’. DEWA is one of the first government organisations in the UAE to take the initiative and change the colour of its logo to green. The move also underlines DEWA’s significant role in supporting climate action and transitioning to a sustainable green economy in Dubai and the UAE. Changing the colour of the DEWA’s logo to green during the Year of Sustainability, follows DEWA’s update of its strategic plan, adding achieving net-zero by 2050 to its vision. DEWA’s new vision is ‘A globally leading sustainable innovative corporation committed to achieving net-zero by 2050’.
Reducing network losses
DEWA was able to raise energy production efficiency by using the latest disruptive technologies. In 2022, losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks were reduced to 2.2% compared to 6-7% in Europe and the USA. Water network losses were also reduced to 4.5% compared to around 15% in North America. DEWA has achieved a new world record in electricity Customer Minutes Lost (CML) per year. Dubai recorded 1.19 minutes per customer, compared to around 15 minutes recorded by leading utility companies in the European Union.
UN Global Compact
DEWA joined the UN Global Compact in 2017, the world’s largest institutional sustainability initiative. DEWA is the UAE’s first government utility to join the UNGC and adopt its ten basic principles in sustainable and socially-responsible policies. Joining the UNGC is part of DEWA’s efforts in this regard, especially since the ten principles of the UNGC are consistent with our administrative policies, corporate governance principles, and strategic and developmental objectives. This supports the objectives of the UAE Centennial Plan 2071.
Annual Sustainability Report
DEWA has been preparing its annual sustainability report since 2013, following the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). It has consolidated its position in this area by becoming a member of the GRI Gold Community and part of the Standards Pioneers Programme, becoming one of the first 100 organisations to adopt the new standards. The report is a reliable, valuable, transparent reference for DEWA’s achievements and efforts over a year.