Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainabilty Leadership (CISL) are organising the 2nd Sustainability Leadership Conference over two days. The first day includes the Leadership Summit, and the second includes the Sustainable Development Goals Workshop. This is part of DEWA’s efforts to consolidate Dubai’s positon as a leading hub for sustainability and green economy. The conference is attended by a number of officials from the public and private sectors from around the world.
The first day of the conference was inaugurated by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. It was attended HE Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Energy; HE Saif Humaid Al Falasi, CEO of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC); Mohammed Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power; DEWA’s Executive Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents, and a number of officials from Dubai Government agencies.
Speakers at the Sustainability Leadership Conference included Aris Vrettos, Director of Open Programmes and International Markets for CISL; Terry A'Hearn, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, CB, Former Commander of UK Maritime Forces and Interim UK Foreign Secretary's Special Representative for Climate Change; Tom Burke, Chairman E3G and former Special Adviser to UK Secretaries of State for Environment; and other international sustainability experts.
In his keynote speech, Al Tayer commended the efforts of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership for its continuous and fruitful cooperation with DEWA on sustainability.
“At DEWA, sustainability is one of top of our priorities. This year, we are organising the first DEWA Sustainability Week during the Year of Zayed, which marks 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace, the leader of sustainability in the UAE. Our wise leadership follows the same path of sustainability to achieve a balance between development and the environment. We are guided by this vision to launch pioneering initiatives to consolidate the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability within an institutional framework and an integrated system to ensure sustainable results,” said Al Tayer.
“In Dubai, we have a comprehensive vision for sustainability, which is the basis for the transition towards a green economy. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to provide 75% of the Emirate’s total power output from clean energy by 2050, to establish a sustainable energy model that supports economic growth, without damaging the environment and its resources. DEWA supports this direction by developing leading clean and renewable energy projects, including the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar park in the world. It will produce 5,000MW by 2030, at a total investment of AED 50 billion. When completed, it will reduce over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year. As part of the third pillar of the clean energy strategy, we launched the AED100 billion Dubai Green Fund to provide innovative financing solutions for green projects. As part of our efforts to diversify energy sources, we are building a 250MW pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in Hatta. It is the first of its kind in the GCC. We are also studying plans to build a 400MW pumped hydro storage power island in the Arabian Gulf, with a storage capacity of approximately 2,500MWh. We are also building DEWA’s new headquarters, named Al-Shera’a, which is Arabic for ‘sail.’ The new building will be the tallest, largest, and smartest Zero Energy Building in the world. It will be a sustainability landmark, not just in Dubai or the UAE, but around the world. Under the Shams Dubai initiative, which encourages building owners to install photovoltaic solar systems to generate their electricity, to date, we have connected 805 buildings to DEWA’s grid with a capacity of 31MW. We have other requests with a capacity of 242MW.”
Al Tayer noted that DEWA has joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s greatest corporate sustainability initiative. DEWA will highlight its efforts to implement and adopt the ten principles of the UNGC, and the progress of support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030, in its next annual Sustainability Report. DEWA has established its leading position in the preparation of global reports. It was the first utility in the Middle East and North Africa to use GRI to develop sustainability reports. DEWA achieved a world-class result in the Sustainability Culture Indicator of 88.8% in 2017. This exceeded the global average of 62% achieved by international participating organisations in the same year. The SCI is based on the principles of achieving sustainability, strategic commitment, innovation in sustainability, training, and raising awareness about sustainability.
“We realise that young people will play a key role in driving global sustainability, which is why we are hosting two consecutive competitions of the Solar Decathlon Middle East. This was created through an agreement with the United States Department of Energy. The first will be held this year and the second in 2020, to coincide with Expo 2020 Dubai. University teams will compete to design, build, and operate sustainable models of solar-powered houses that are both cost-effective and energy-efficient. I take this opportunity to invite you to visit the location of the competition at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in November. 21 teams from 36 universities in 15 countries are taking part in the competition and will receive prizes totalling AED 10 million. On Tuesday, as part of the DEWA Sustainability Week, we are organising the ‘Youth Sustainability Forum’ at Etihad Museum in Dubai. It will include discussions and brainstorming sessions with a large number of young people,” added Al Tayer.
“At DEWA, we are also creating a new digital future for Dubai through Digital DEWA. This is DEWA’s digital arm that will enable us to disrupt the operational model of utilities and become the world’s first digital utility, using autonomous systems for renewable-energy and its storage, while expanding the use of artificial intelligence, and digital services. Our initiatives and joint projects with the private sector, including this conference, promote the sustainable development of the UAE, and aim for sustainability to be a lifestyle, to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come,” concluded Al Tayer.
“Our collaboration with DEWA is based on a common desire to develop the solutions and leadership needed for a better and more sustainable world. We are delighted to bring together leaders at this conference to address global challenges and opportunities. Leaders participating today recognise the need to work together – to lead this change and not just adapt to it,” said Dame Polly Courtice, Director of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in a video message at the conference.