- The Green Fuel Index report has said that UAE’s renewable energy capacity swelled from a mere 13 MW in 2011 to a huge 2,540 MW at the end of 2020.
- It is also the first Arab country that has an operational nuclear programme after it had inaugurated the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in April last year.
The Green Fuel Index report released by ‘Compare the Market’ – an Australia-based aggregator has revealed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has had the largest increase of renewable energy capacity in the world in the past decade. The report has said that UAE’s renewable energy capacity swelled from a mere 13 MW in 2011 to a huge 2,540 MW at the end of 2020 which shows the focus and policy initiatives of the UAE Government to achieve carbon neutrality. The jump is the highest in relative terms, as absolute numbers will obviously favour larger markets like China, US, India and others.
“The UAE — where renewable capacity has grown by almost 20,000 per cent over the last decade — has traditionally relied on its plentiful supplies of oil but has recently made a big effort to shift away from fossil fuels.” The report also maintains countries are increasingly relying more on renewable sources, such as wind and solar, for their energy as they attempt to go green.
The key stimulator cited behind the UAE’s flood of policy initiatives for renewable expansion in the country is its Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative that looks to invest $163 billion in clean and renewable sources of energy in the coming 30 years. The ambitious strategy of the UAE was announced last year just before the Glasgow Cop26 Summit.
The UAE also has an additional distinction to its name: it is the first Arab country that has an operational nuclear programme after it had inaugurated the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in April 2021. The Green Fuel Index report has said that the nuclear plant has eliminated over five million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The country has also developed Masdar, an RE developer based in Abu Dhabi, which is present in UAE and other 35 countries. It is headed by UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Emirates’ special envoy for climate change and the company has invested more than $20 billion in RE projects all over the world.
The Green Fuel Index report further says that the leader of the Arab World – Saudi Arabia – has witnessed an RE expansion of 13,000 per cent in the past decade where the capacity grew from 3 MW to 413 MW. Bahrain too ranked in the top five countries in terms of highest increases in renewable energy capacity. Interestingly, on the relatively higher base now, all of these countries have major expansion plans in place for the next decade or so, to ensure that renewables will continue to spread rapidly in the middle east.
The UAE, with relatively smaller oil reserves as compared to Saudi Arabia, has also opted for a renewable led energy policy once prices fell to a level where its rulers judged better sense in exporting oil for revenues, rather than consuming it internally and increasing its carbon footprint. Another Gulf country, Qatar, is already under the lens for its horrendous carbon footprint on a per capita basis.
Iceland has the highest per capita renewable energy in the world as its RE segment is dominated by hydropower and geothermal energy. Today, Iceland generates 7,830 MW per million people. Norway, Sweden, Canada and Austria are also among the best performers as far RE capacity expansion is concerned, according to the report.