Wednesday 4, November 2015

Dubai – MENA Herald: Nasser Lootah, EVP of Generation at DEWA, has given a keynote speech on behalf of HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to highlight the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, at the 8th Dubai Forum For Government Best Practices 2015, organised by Dubai Government Excellence Program under the theme Excellence in Government for the Happiness of Society. The forum is under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and supports his vision to make everyone in society happy.

The Dubai Government Excellence Program has categorised the solar park as the most important DEWA project in the international sphere. The solar park is a huge step towards the diversification of the energy mix, and will help make Dubai the world’s best city for the production of renewable energy.

The Dubai Government Excellence Program used numerous criteria to choose winning entries this year, including quality of leadership, quality of strategy, quality and results of human resources, quality of partnerships and resources, operations, quality of services and client results, partners, environment, quality of community results, and quality of main performance results. The programme supports His Highnesses’ vision to make employees and clients happy through various initiatives and criteria, including the study of employee and client happiness, based on international best standards.

“On behalf of DEWA, I am delighted to see you here today at the Dubai Forum For Government Best Practices held under the theme ‘Excellence in Government for the Happiness of Society’ under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to boost the exchange of knowledge and expertise between government organisations in excellence, government performance development, and providing a motivating work environment,” said Lootah.

“I would like to showcase today the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, one of the largest strategic projects in the world, which was launched in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and supports the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, and reaffirms Dubai’s leadership in solar energy and creating a new industry in the region,” he added.

“At DEWA, we strive to support the implementation of the UAE Green Growth Strategy’s Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, the UAE Vision 2021, and the Dubai Plan 2021: boosting the country’s position as a role model in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability, creativity and innovation, attracting investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and furthering sustainable development and happiness of the people.”

“DEWA has realised the need to secure energy supplies, and find alternative solutions for conventional energy, as it understands the importance of developing the renewable and alternative energy sectors, knowing full well how this can impact on people’s happiness.”

“This is why DEWA, as a member company of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, contributed to the launch of Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify the Emirate’s energy mix and increase its percentage of renewable energy. By 2030, we aim was to generate 71% of Dubai’s total power output from natural gas, 7% from nuclear power, 7% from clean coal and 15% from solar energy. The decision to allocate 15% from solar energy will guarantee the clean energy grid in the Emirate and has been based on thorough technical and financial studies,” he added.

“The UAE is located in the Sunbelt, which is an important advantage that exposes it to huge amounts of solar radiation. Nearly 2,105 kWh per square metre per year can be generated from photovoltaic technology. The unique geographic location of the UAE provides a clear advantage for solar energy in Dubai,” he added.

“We conducted technical and commercial feasibility studies. We also reviewed global studies and reports to assess the situation and choose the right technology. We found that the best option is using photovoltaic panels.

We evaluated and compared the currently-available thin-film based and crystalline based photovoltaic technologies to choose the most suitable one for the local environment, and we identified the project location based on technology specifications,” said Lootah.

“In January 2012, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Following the launch, DEWA put in place plans in collaboration with internal and external partners. DEWA is keen to establish, develop and manage successful and effective partnerships with various sectors in order to achieve common goals and to contribute to Dubai’s growth, to support the vision of the Government of Dubai and DEWA’s strategic goals, to establish partnerships with public and private bodies, and non-profit organisations, to achieve sustainable development in Dubai and create a better tomorrow, for generations to come.”

“To develop and train UAE Nationals, DEWA has developed an integrated plan based on its study of the challenges and risks, taking into account the various challenges that could face a project being established for the first time. We have started developing an Emirati workforce to learn about the latest local and international developments in renewable energy. We have launched a scholarship programme outside the UAE in an undergraduate programme in renewable energy. As we have concluded agreements with international companies, such as RWE and First Solar to train our employees in Europe and the USA. DEWA sent the first batch of its engineers to Essen, Germany, for an integrated training programme for one month. Another group was sent to the University of Arizona to learn about renewable energy,” added Lootah.

“DEWA cooperates with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the United Nations. We have agreed to conduct research and studies in the fields of renewable and alternative energy, through initiatives centred on ways to reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

“We focused on project management by issuing a tender for the project and selecting the contractor. We are managing the project implementation according to the highest standards of safety and quality. We also made sure to deliver it within the set timeframe, review the design, and supervise the construction phases to provide the best model for operating and maintaining the project,” said Lootah.

“HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park with a production capacity of 13MW of energy using photovoltaic technology on 22 October 2013 on the occasion of World Energy Day. This is the largest project for electricity production by photovoltaic panels in the Middle East and North Africa.  It will power 2,000 Dubai homes with clean energy, saving 319,000,000 MMBTU of fossil fuels. The project uses pioneering technologies represented by over 152,000 photocells connected to 13 step-up transformers in inverter buildings. The output voltage is transformed to 33 kilovolts and generates over 24 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and is connected to the grid in the Emirate of Dubai,” added Lootah.

“We raised the production capacity targets for 2030 of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to 3,000 MW, using the Independent Power Producer model. We also successfully set up a new worldwide benchmark in photovoltaic power projects with the second phase of the solar park, which will have a 200 MW capacity and will be operational by 2017. This was based on a tender by DEWA based on the IPP model that offered the lowest price globally at US$ 5.4 cents per kWh. This led us to revise our solar targets, and the Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai increased the percentage of renewables in Dubai’s energy mix target from 1% to 7% by 2020 and from 5% to 15% by 2030. It also raised the capacity of renewable energy with 800MW required for the third phase of the project, based on the Independent Power Producer model, a landmark achievement that will put the country at the forefront of renewable and clean energy production,” said Lootah.

“In addition to the above mentioned energy production projects, I would like also to outline some other key projects that are also happening in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The Park includes a Creativity & Innovation Centre that will be equipped with the latest renewable and clean technologies to sharpen national capabilities, boost the competitiveness of business, develop new renewable energy technologies, support the overall regional advancement of the industry and raise social awareness about renewable and sustainable energy.”

“We are a leading hub for innovative research. The Research and Development Centre will conduct studies for industrial and social requirements, scientific research, link and researchers, academics and developers, and devise strategies for innovative and productive ideas. We have two testing facilities, one for photovoltaic solar testing and the other for concentrated solar power. The centre is currently testing 25 modules of PV panels from global specialist manufacturers, to check the properties, analyse the results, and use them in research and development.”

“All of this has resulted in DEWA winning the Project of the Year award at the MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2014. This award is offered for the first time to the renewable energy sector in the region. Also, this year, the solar park won Distinguished Technical Project at the 18th Dubai Government Excellence Program Awards (DGEP),” concluded Lootah.

The Dubai Forum For Government’s Best Practices hosted international spokespeople and experts from a variety of sectors, including education, health, and technology, highlighting the important roles these sectors play in making people happy. Government officials and employees also showcased their success stories and discussed strategies to achieve excellence and innovation, as well as the nature of their achievements, which qualified them to win categories awarded by the Dubai Government Excellence Program.