Question: what springs to mind when you think of Dubai? Massive skyscrapers and luxurious hotels? Sprawling malls and fast cars?
Either way, chances are it isn’t sustainability and green credentials.
All that is about to change though if Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has anything to say about it. In accordance with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, the Emirate is aiming to become a global centre of green energy innovation, over the next 35 years. It seems that there's now a concerted effort to do more than just pay lip service to sustainability.
The 2050 plan, which was launched by Sheikh Mohammed last week, also aims to lay the groundwork needed to make the city almost completely sustainable through clean energy, with the goal to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050. Under the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy, the city aims to provide 7% of its energy from clean energy resources by 2020, 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2050.
You might think that this is somewhat of an oxymoron, but despite having such a hot climate and a reliance on fossil fuels to cool our buildings and power our appliances, there is one thing that puts Dubai in a unique position to take advantage of renewable energy – our lovely year-round sunshine.
One aspect of the 2050 plan that was highlighted was the aim to make solar power account for 25% of all Dubai’s power requirements. One of the primary ways of achieving this is the Rooftop Solar Mandate, a potential plan that would make it mandatory to install solar panels on the roofs of every building in the Emirate by 2030. Well, it does makes sense to utilise our most abundant resource.
Despite being one of the world’s largest oil producing countries, as well as one of the largest per capita carbon dioxide emitters on the planet, in recent years the UAE has begun promoting large-scale adoption of solar power to reduce its carbon footprint. Sheikh Mohammed revealed key details of the new strategy during his speech inaugurating the second phase of construction at the Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, one of the largest solar projects under development in the world.
The Clean Energy Strategy also includes plans for investing $27 billion to establish the Dubai Green Fund, which will provide low-interest financing for clean energy projects.
So what do you think? Can you imagine solar panels on every rooftop in the city? And is almost completely relying on clean energy a realistic prospect for a city that consumes so much power? Let us know what you think.