ABU DHABI, 10th May, 2022 (WAM) -- The UAE has proactively invested in proven clean energy. Within a decade, solar and peaceful nuclear energy have transformed the UAE's energy sector, ensuring the nation is ahead of the curve on achieving Net Zero by 2050.
Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), highlighted this during his keynote speech on day one of the inaugural World Utilities Congress, taking place this week in Abu Dhabi.
He identified the challenges and opportunities for the utilities sector and the solutions available today. The challenges include the fact that the energy industry needs to power the world under a new and more complex framework of energy security. The industry also needs to produce this power more sustainably, whilst meeting climate change commitments, preserving natural resources, and enabling economic growth, progress, and prosperity for the world.
He explained that for many years the UAE leadership has focused on sustainability, energy security and energy diversification. With the commercial operation of two of the four Units at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, ENEC is delivering a climate solution today that enables rapid large-scale decarbonisation alongside growth and continues to develop nuclear technology in the UAE as a catalyst for further innovation in the clean energy transition.
Al Hammadi commented, "The second of our four reactors at the Barakah Plant entered commercial operations in March this year. Barakah is now generating 2.8 Gigawatts of electricity, making it the largest source of clean electricity in the country. With all four reactors online, nuclear energy will meet 25% of the UAE's electricity demand. It has also delivered large-scale decarbonisation, and when fully operational, the Plant will prevent around 22.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year." There are significant economic benefits too. A recent research paper by S&P Global shows that Barakah will reduce gas consumption by around 1,000 million cubic feet per day or 205,000 barrels of oil per day in equivalence. This is a financial saving of almost US$7.4 billion per annum in terms of oil barrels. More importantly, Barakah saves precious natural gas resources to allow the UAE to accelerate its path to becoming a net LNG exporter by 2030.
Al Hammadi added, "As a contributor to progress, we have created an industry that employs thousands of people in just a decade. We have the expertise and knowledge in the civilian nuclear industry and a local nuclear industry supply chain worth billions of dirhams. But the Barakah Plant and its immediate economic benefits are just the tips of the iceberg. Beyond Barakah is the delivery of the wider UAE peaceful nuclear energy program. The programme has set forward the need to invest in technologies that can be leveraged to extract greater value and opportunity, towards our Net Zero ambitions." He also spoke at the Nuclear Leadership Forum. He highlighted that 8 of 10 of the world's most sustainable nations already include nuclear in their portfolios. More recently, a wave of countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America have also reaffirmed their commitment to this zero-carbon source. This growth is simple - a source of high-capacity clean electricity, such as nuclear, reinforces domestic energy security, enables undisrupted economic growth, and eliminates carbon emissions.