Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) | DEWA’s innovative and sustainable projects are world-class achievements

2 February 2020

DEWA’s innovative and sustainable projects are world-class achievements

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer. MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority

The wise leadership of the UAE has a clear goal to make the UAE the best country in the world. This is through the UAE Centennial 2071, the federal and national strategies to enhance sustainability and build a green economy, to achieve balance between the social, economic, and environmental needs. These in turn support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

The UAE has launched several federal and national strategies to consolidate sustainable development and shift to clean energy. The Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai announced in June 2019 that the UAE recorded an improvement of 60% bringing per capita emissions to 15.7tCO2 in the last MRV compiled, well below the US ranking of 16.5tCO2 per capita.

Dubai is confidently moving forward in accordance with key strategies to achieve the transformation to clean energy through the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 to increase clean energy to 50% of the total energy mix by 2050. Public and private government organisations are working together to achieve the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai for the sustainable development of the UAE, as part of the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative. They also support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to transform the Emirate into a global hub for clean energy and green economy.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s efforts have led to a significant reduction in carbon emissions in Dubai, whereby the net carbon dioxide emissions in Dubai decreased by a significant 19% by the end of 2018, two years ahead of the Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 target to reduce the carbon emissions by 16% by 2021.

DEWA is a global model for consolidating sustainability

In line with its vision as a globally leading sustainable innovative corporation, DEWA works in accordance with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to achieve sustainable development in all areas. This includes the UAE Vision 2021. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, says that DEWA strives, over the next few years, to enhance its contribution in countering the adverse effects of climate change. DEWA hopes to consolidate its efforts to implement the initiatives and projects as per the highest standards of sustainability and efficiency, through its key partnerships and strategies. It also seeks to create a safe and sustainable environment and a brighter future, for generations to come.

“We are guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy, through adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and disruptive technologies. This includes Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Energy Storage, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), among others. We use the successful Independent Power and Water Producer model. This has enabled us to achieve world-class results in partnership with the private sector. We attracted the best and most renowned solar power developers from around the world, using the latest technologies, and focused our investments on other important areas, such as the Research and Development Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. We have also trained and educated Emiratis by collaborating with international organisations and universities working in clean energy,” said Al Tayer.

“At the same time, we also started our journey to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic panels. The first generation of which had an efficiency of 11.8%. Today, we have achieved 19% efficiency with the latest designs of photovoltaic panels. By using the latest photovoltaic solar technologies, self-cleaning techniques and advanced solar tracking systems, we succeeded in increasing the efficiency of energy generation by 24%. By 2030, 100% of desalinated water will be produced by a mix of clean energy and waste heat. The efficiency improvements projects of electricity and water production will contribute to cumulative savings of AED 70 billion, and reduce carbon emissions by 236 million tonnes by 2030. Production efficiency has already been increased by 29% from 2006 until now,” added Al Tayer.

World-class results for Dubai and the UAE in Sustainability

The UAE, represented by DEWA, has maintained its first place globally for the third consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all Getting Electricity indicators in the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 report. The report measures the ease of doing business in 190 economies around the world. DEWA achieved a global milestone, with Dubai getting a 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 Middle East and North Africa to receive this prestigious certification.

DEWA achieved an improvement in the cumulative efficiency between 2006 and 2018 by 29.7%, equivalent to a reduction of 50.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, with a current production capacity of 11, 400MW and 470 million gallons of desalinated water per day. DEWA reduced losses in power transmission and distribution networks to 3.3%, an improvement of 30% compared to 2007. DEWA’s water network losses in 2017 were 6.5 % during 2018, which is one of the lowest in the world. DEWA also achieved the lowest customer minutes lost per year (CML) in the world of 2.39 CML in 2018.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

DEWA continues its efforts to turn Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy and to make it the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world. Meeting the clean energy objectives requires a capacity of 42,000MW of clean and renewable energy by 2050. DEWA has launched several pioneering projects to meet these objectives. This includes the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar park in the world with a planned capacity of 5,000 MW in 2030 and investments of AED 50 billion. Through its projects, the park will accelerate Dubai’s shift towards solar power.

The 13MW photovoltaic first phase became operational in 2013 using photovoltaic solar panels. The 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park was operational in March 2017. The 800MW photovoltaic third phase will be operational by 2020 over several phases. It includes 500MW in operation. The fourth phase of the solar park is the largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world based on the IPP model.

DEWA has achieved a world record by receiving the lowest bid of USD 1.6953 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h) for the 900MW fifth phase using photovoltaic panels based on the IPP model.

Etihad ESCO creates an ideal environment for energy efficiency

The Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO), a leading company in energy services owned by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has been making Dubai a leading example in energy efficiency for the region and the world, since its establishment in 2013. It works on retrofitting buildings, conserving and monitoring energy consumption, and installing clean and renewable energy technologies.

The company aims to retrofit more than 30,000 buildings in Dubai by 2030 to ensure energy efficiency. The cumulative cost of such strategic projects will be around AED 30 billion, while the estimated value of savings is AED 82 billion, giving the Demand Side Management plan a Positive Net Economic Impact of Net Present Value of AED 52 billion.

Water production using waste-heat power

DEWA adopted a clear and comprehensive strategy to achieve sustainability that integrates renewable energy with electricity generation and water production. One of the most important initiatives for this is separating electricity generation from water production from waste-heat. This will be operational over several phases as part of DEWA’s strategy in expanding water production. This initiative only allows the use of Reverse Osmosis technology for water desalination. This initiative will enable use of renewable energy produced at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to operate new water desalination plants. The water production at these plants will primarily depend on clean energy by 2050. The initiative also supports DEWA’s efforts to meet growing demand for water and enhance the efficiency and infrastructure for supplies in a sustainable way, as well as keeping pace with the growing water demand from different consumer segments in Dubai.

Shams Dubai initiative

A part of the Smart Dubai initiative, DEWA launched Shams Dubai to encourage customers to install solar photovoltaic panels at their premises to generate electricity from solar power and export any excess to the power grid. The connection of organisations and household owners has reached 171.7MW of photovoltaic solar power across Dubai, increasing the shift to solar power. Shams Dubai has the legislation and regulations in place to enable solar power to spread across the city and provide additional clean capacity.

Significant savings in electricity and water consumption

DEWA’s conservation programmes and initiatives over the past 10 years have achieved significant savings in electricity and water use for stakeholders. Cumulative savings between 2009 and 2018 reached 2 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity and 7.4 billion gallons of water, equivalent to AED 1.2 billion. These savings were achieved in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, educational institutions, governmental and semi-governmental organisations. The savings contributed to reducing about one million tonnes of carbon emissions.

DEWA adopts an integrated strategy to raise awareness on the importance of rationalising consumption and involving society in protecting the environment and preserving natural resources. DEWA operates conservation programmes throughout the year, including a number of innovative awareness initiatives and activities that target all customer sectors. This to ensure the rational consumption of resources becomes part of social culture and a daily practice, to encourage everyone to adopt a conscious and responsible lifestyle. This supports the UAE’s efforts to protect the environment, preserve its natural resources, and reduce its carbon footprint to achieve the goals of the Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021; and the Demand Side Management Strategy to reduce energy and water use by 30% by 2030.

Smart Response

DEWA provides its Smart Response service, which can help customers to self-diagnose interruptions. This can reduce the number of steps required to deal with complaints from 10 to 6 steps by DEWA and only 1 step for the customers if they can diagnose the status by themselves. The service also finds the best solutions to deal with, follow up and resolve technical notifications in a simpler and easier way, using DEWA's smart app and website. This makes life easier for customers and improves DEWA’s service efficiency.

Customer happiness with the service has reached 91%. This is a result of the service’s success to enhance their experience, save their time and efforts, and make them happy. The service reduced the time needed to fix interruptions by 43%. It also enables customers to self-diagnose the problem, and learn the necessary precautions to ensure continuity and quality of water supply. Some 56% of customers were able to resolve these issues on their own, thanks to the Smart Response Service. In case the interruption was internal, DEWA provides trustworthy maintenance companies on DEWA Store to fix the interruption swiftly and efficiently. This enhances our partnerships, especially with the private sector.

High Water Usage Alert

The High-Water Usage Alert initiative helps customers discover possible leaks in their water connections, after the meter. The system sends instant notifications to the customer if there is an unusual increase in consumption, to check the internal connections and repair any leaks with the help of a specialised technician. This contributes to reducing incurred costs and time. The initiative reduced the Recovery Average Time goal of minor notifications from 3 hours to 2 hours, and the major notifications from 6 hours to 4 hours. It also improved the alert system for smart meters.

The service has saved customers over 300 million gallons of water, which is equal to more than AED 17 million, thanks to the smart meters. The system sends instant notifications to customers if there is an unusual increase in consumption so they know to fix the issue. This is part of DEWA’s efforts to provide a reliable supply of electricity and water to all Dubai’s residents.

My Sustainable Living Programme

The ‘My Sustainable Living Programme’ encourages customers to use electricity and water responsibly and reduce their carbon footprint. The programme is the first of its kind in the Middle East, and enables residential customers to compare their monthly electricity and water usage with the average use of similarly efficient homes and make informed decisions based on current data, with other highly efficient homes. This inspires healthy competition among customers to reduce their consumption.

‘My Sustainable Living’ programme has four main features. These include a comparison dashboard of similar homes in the region, and other similar efficient homes, a graph of estimated consumption trends, a monthly consumption report, and conservation tips. DEWA interacts with its users through its website, smart app, and email and text messages.

There are now more than 350,000 residential customers enrolled in ‘My Sustainable Living’ programme since its launch in October 2018. 

Green Charger

DEWA launched the Green Charger initiative in 2015 to encourage the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, which protects the environment. In 2019, DEWA installed 240 green charger stations in different locations across Dubai. DEWA is committed to encouraging society to use sustainable transport. DEWA decided to extend the deadline of the free electric vehicle Green charger initiative until 31 December 2021 for private electric vehicle owners. This is a result of the significant increase in the number of electric and hybrid cars in Dubai and the positive response to the incentives it announced.

International recognition of DEWA’s Sustainability Reports

DEWA joined the United Nations Global Compact, the world's largest institutional sustainability initiative. DEWA has confirmed its leading position in global sustainability reporting and is the first electricity utility in the Middle East and North Africa to adopt the 4th Global Reporting Initiative (G4). DEWA has been issuing sustainability reports since 2013 based on the world-class GRI Standards. DEWA consolidated its position in this field by joining the GRI Gold Community, part of the Standards Pioneers Programme, being one of the first 100 organisations in the world to adopt the new standards for sustainability reporting. DEWA recently issued the sixth Sustainability Report for 2018. The report summarises DEWA’s efforts to enhance sustainability with its three pillars: economic, environmental and social, in addition to providing a sustainable model for energy and water.