Will the traditional energy resources be able to continue its leading role in providing world with energy? Or renewable energy can compete it and decrease its role? Why searching for energy alternatives? Are these alternatives economically effective?Will Abu Dhabi continue its reliance on Oil and Gas to satisfy its energy needs and provide financing resources for development programs and plans? Or there will be different energy resources and reliance on renewable energies, especially Solar and Wind Energy?All these questions are raised in the midst of world endeavors to develop renewable energy technology as an alternative for traditional energy resources. It seems that we are witnessing new era relying on energy revolution. There is fierce competition nowadays to find more sustainable and less contamination alternatives for existing resources.Countries spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on renewable energy, such as solar, wind, hydro, and other natural resources. This is expected to change world consumption of energy resources based on current technology and that technology expected to be available on the next two decades. New energy systems became one of the most important motivations for industrial development, creating job opportunities and opening new investment opportunities.Future Energy
SOURCE: RENEWABLES 2010 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT, REN21, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century Renewable energy has notably penetrated energy markets. Renewable energy resources provide about 19% of international energy needs in 2009 (as shown in the following figure), with a capacity of 1230 GW, with an increase of 7% over 2008. It also contributed with about 18% of electricity generated in 2009. China, USA and Germany are the most advanced countries in this field.
SOURCE: RENEWABLES 2010 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century
Renewable energy is a set of natural energy resources, and renewable energy types differ according to its source. It can be limited to the following:1. Solar Energy2. Wind Energy3. Biomass Energy. (It is the energy derived from organic substances such as burning plants, animal wastes and bones, garbage and agriculture wastes. It produces Ethanol gas).4. Hydro Energy5. Geothermal Energy6. Tide Energy7. Energy of temperature difference in deep sea.
Future ViewIt is expected that by 2030, renewable energy will represent 22% of total world power supplies according to expectations of International Energy Agency (IEA) in one of its scenarios to measure power supply volume (the scenario related to stabilizing greenhouse gases by 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide equivalent). Another scenario from IEA expected that renewable energy will have 14.2% of total supplies by 2030 based on current normal growth.
Why searching for alternatives for traditional energy?There are three main factors that make countries invest in renewable energy. The first one is to satisfy its needs of energy, which represent the corn stone of sustainable development. Statistics show that demand on energy will increase over the coming years to keep pace with expected accelerated growth in world economy, especially in countries like China and India, with continuous decrease of world reserve of traditional energy, which is expected to be a more difficult problem over time.The second factor is calls for the need to deal more effectively with environment problems, work on decreasing greenhouse gases and facing environmental threats like climate change and global warming, which increase every day. Renewable energy can satisfy our needs and decrease greenhouse gases at the same time.The third factor is continuous increase in oil and gas prices and the expectations that its production costs will increase in the future with the decrease of renewable energy costs. This decrease may be resulting from the advancement of renewable energy production technology, and this decrease is expected to continue over the coming years.Furthermore, this field provides new investment opportunities whether directly, by investing in this activity, or indirectly, through services and products required by this industry. Additionally, it provides job opportunities, as workers in this field all over the world exceed 3 million in 2009, and this number is expected to doubled during the coming few years.Renewable energy is not a magical solution for all problems related to energy. Despite benefits of these alternatives, there are some difficulties in its usage, as it is not always available on demand, because it is seasonal, it requires large initial investments and requires structural changes in world energy infrastructure. However, renewable energy stills a strategic option to ensure future power supply, knowing that there are accelerated developments in this field and that researches and studies made a large decrease in its production costs, whether initial or operational costs.
Global Investments … Investment for the FutureInvestments in renewable energy made a huge rise during the period 2005-2009, where growth rate reached 230% during this period. Considering global investments in this field in 2009, we find that it reached 162 billion dollars, despite economic stagnation after the world crisis. Expectations refer to an increase in investment volume in clean energy by 25% in 2010 to reach 200 billion dollars.The Group of Twenty (G-20) has about 90% of investments in renewable energy field. On the countries level, China came in the first place in investments with about 34.6 billion dollars in 2009, while USA came second with 18.6 billion dollars.
Emirate of Abu Dhabi …. Global PositionOil and Gas revenues, since the beginning of production and exporting, played the leading role in the general development in Abu Dhabi and UAE in general. Oil revenues made a huge change in socio-economic structure of Abu Dhabi over four decades. The emirate became one of the modern societies and has flourishing economy, excellent infrastructure and high living levels.Abu Dhabi comes in the 7th place in the world regarding proven oil reserves (92.2 bn barrels) according to the list of world oil reserves, which represent 7.5% of global reserves and about 95% of UAE’s reserves. The current production of Abu Dhabi amounts to over 8% of the total production of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with 901 million barrels annually. The Emirate also comes in the 7th place in the world regarding gas reserves with 212 trillion cubic feet.Despite there are huge reserves enough to continue production with the current rates for more than a century, and the increase in oil and gas prices according to analyses, Abu Dhabi believes in the necessity to work hard to find alternatives for traditional energy to be integrated with available sources to satisfy future needs for the Emirate.This is highlighted in 2030 Economic Vision for Abu Dhabi. Working on developing strong infrastructure that is capable of supporting economic growth through ensuring power supply to satisfy future needs is one of the seven areas of Abu Dhabi’s economic policy.Abu Dhabi take big steps to develop energy sector, which is a strategic option to ensure sustainability of supplies during different development stages identified in ambitious economic vision for the emirate by 2030. All indicators refer to an increase in local demand on different energy sources in Abu Dhabi and UAE in general, especially in electric power generation and water desalination as a result to expansion in infrastructure and industrial structures and other sectors. Also, Abu Dhabi seeks to better exploit available energy sources and resources, including Solar and Wind energy in the first place.Choosing Abu Dhabi to be the headquarters of IRENA is considered an international acknowledgement of Abu Dhabi position and crowning for its efforts in this field. Worth mentioning that UAE has invested about 7 billion dollars in 2008 in clean energy projects and plans to increase its investments to 50 billion dollars by 2015. UAE also plans to increase the contribution of renewable energy sources to 7% to satisfy its energy needs by 2020.Renewable energy sector in Abu Dhabi is about to takeoff, as Abu Dhabi has performed many projects and initiatives in that sector and drawn a strategy relies on developing clean energy from existing traditional sources, in addition to developing untraditional patterns of renewable energy, where it transferred into using natural gas to generate electrical power with about 100%. It also relies on natural gas to desalinate sea water. All of these efforts are part of Abu Dhabi’s endeavors to reduce greenhouse gases and support environmental plans to provide clean energy from traditional sources.Abu Dhabi also started developing a peaceful nuclear program, under supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), by building four nuclear power plants with a capacity of 1400 MW each. It is planned to start building the first nuclear plant by 2012 and a group of companies from South Korea will perform the project. The first plant is expected to start supplying national network with electricity in 2017, while the other three plants are expected to be completed by 2020.This is only the start towards transition into using clean energy, as Abu Dhabi seeks to strength renewable energy role as a more sustainable and less contamination alternative. UAE has already started some projects to generate electrical power and desalinate sea water using renewable energy, such as (Om Al Nar) plant in Abu Dhabi that represent a scientific and practical example for one of water desalination technologies using solar energy. It also announced the commencement of generating electrical power from the largest power generator using wind power in the Middle East, on “Seer Bani Yas” island with a capacity of more than 850 KW/H. This power is currently used to supply island’s utilities with electricity in addition to power supplied by national network.Additionally, Abu Dhabi announced launch of Zayed Future Energy Prize with an amount of 2.2 million dollars annually. The prize is presented to honor individuals, companies, institutions and non-governmental entities that make great contributions to develop sustainable innovations and solutions to meet current needs and future requirements of energy all over the world.
Masdar … Future of Energy in Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi’s efforts in renewable energy field became clear by establishing Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) in 2006. Masdar is specialized in renewable energy and aims at developing technologies and solutions related to renewable and clean energy and using it commercially. Masdar works with partners and institutions from all over the world to exploit scientific researches with best technologies to produce applicable and effective systems and mechanisms.The company makes real investments in renewable energy technologies, promoting experiences, exchanging knowledge of renewable energy fields, building local and regional facilities to produce green energy in order to maintain balance and integration with traditional fuel production, decreasing greenhouse gases and establishing a modular green city free of wastes and greenhouse gases.Masdar consists of a number of business units; each specialized in one of renewable energy-related activities, which include: Masdar Carbon: this unit works on developing projects to decrease greenhouse gases. It is specialized in developing power efficiency and clean traditional fuel projects that will lead to notably decrease greenhouse gases. Masdar City: it is a clean-technology cluster includes many of companies, researchers and experts from all over the world, making it an international centre for research and development of renewable energy and sustainable technologies. It will be operated using renewable energy only. The amount of investments allocated for Masdar City is 22 billion dollars. Masdar Power: it is specialized in establishing and investing in electrical power generation projects from renewable energy. It has the responsibility to create an investment portfolio to operate local and global assets of renewable energy in the fields of photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP) and wind. It is expected to contribute with 7% of electrical power in Abu Dhabi by 2020. Masdar Institute: it is considered the first academic institution for university graduates in the world. It is specialized in alternative and sustainable technologies researches. The institute was developed in cooperation with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Masdar Capital: it manages Masdar Clean Energy Funds and consists of a group of joint investment projects that aim at establishing direct investment portfolios in clean tech and renewable energy. It launched two investment funds; the first was launched in 2006 in partnership with Consensus Business Group, Credit Suisse and Siemens AG as a fund for different investments with a value of 250 million dollars; 45 million dollars were invested in three clean energy technologies and the remaining 205 million dollars were put in 12 direct investment in companies as lead or co-lead investor.The second was launched in 2009 and is managed in partnership with Deutche Bank. It collected 265 million dollars at its first close and has an initial investor group led by Siemens and includes the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan Oil Development Co. Ltd., Nippon Oil Corporation, Development Bank of Japan and GE.
All these initiatives and projects that prove Abu Dhabi’s leading role in renewable and clean energy reflect the great efforts made by Government to develop renewable energy sources. Global praise of “World Future Energy Summit” hosted by Abu Dhabi since its first round is the best proof of that. This summit is considered the leading event for those interested in energy and environment field and it is also considered a platform for world discussion to find safe and sustainable solutions for energy.