Thursday 31, December 2015

Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: The UAE Ministry of Energy and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen collaboration on strategic energy and water initiatives for the UAE.

The MoU was signed by H.E. Eng. Fatima Mohammed Al Foora, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Clean Energy and Desalinated Water Affairs, Ministry of Energy of UAE, and Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute. According to the MoU, the ministry and Masdar Institute will collaborate on performing renewable energy mapping, assessment, and energy modelling to forecast various energy scenarios and evaluate their socio-economic impacts on the UAE.

Other areas covered by the MoU include studying renewable energy policies and regulations and their relevance to the UAE, as well as analyzing the possibility of joint projects for piloting renewable energy technologies and their applications in the country. In addition, the Ministry of Energy and Masdar Institute will collaborate on raising awareness, engage in information, hold symposia and workshops for increased adoption of renewable energy and explore sustainable policies and regulations in the UAE.

As part of the MoU, a first project agreement with Masdar Institute’s Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) was also signed today during the ceremony, which was held at Ministry of Energy’s Dubai office.

The first project covers the execution of a comprehensive site zoning analysis for utility-scale photovoltaic power projects in the UAE.

The zoning project will employ resource, technology, power demand, land use, costing, infrastructure and other geospatial data to evaluate sites with the highest potential for utility scale solar photovoltaic projects in the UAE. The results of the study will characterize different locations in the UAE based on their ‘levelized’ cost of solar power generation. The study will also assess high potential sites for solar power projects in the UAE to enable key decision-makers to expedite the development of these sites and increase clean energy within the overall power mix of UAE.

H.E. Eng. Fatima Mohammed Al Foora said: “The Ministry of Energy has prioritized clean energy as a vital ingredient for the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the UAE and initiated various projects to support its stakeholders in the country’s progress towards increasing clean energy production as per the UAE 2021 Federal National Agenda target. In this regard, the ministry seeks to strengthen collaboration between UAE universities and the government and we believe our intensive collaboration with Masdar Institute has set a great example in this regard. As a renowned, research-driven institution focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, Masdar Institute has the necessary capabilities to support the UAE government in key strategic energy and water initiatives.”

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf said: “The MoU and the first project agreement with the UAE Ministry of Energy under the MoU reflects the relevance of our research expertise for the UAE’s clean energy target in line with the UAE 2021 Federal National Agenda. Masdar Institute will continue to contribute towards innovation in clean technologies, development of policies and regulations, as well as sharing of information to expedite wider applications of breakthrough energy and water technologies. We believe our collaboration with the UAE Ministry will lead to outcome that will benefit the community in general.”

The zoning project complements the UAE Ministry of Energy’s efforts to set up a geographical information system (GIS) facility within the ministry, given the strong correlation between energy studies and geographical data.

On its part, Masdar Institute-based ReCREMA will use its expertise in solar resource mapping and solar technology assessment to assist the UAE Ministry of Energy to perform a comprehensive site zoning analysis for the whole of the UAE. The developed maps will be used as reference for future utility-scale photovoltaic power projects in the UAE.

ReCREMA was launched in 2012 with the aim to develop regional knowledge and leadership in renewable energy assessment and mapping in desert and arid environments. After three years of operation, ReCREMA has become a regional and international hub for advancing research and innovation in tackling the challenge of estimating solar resource potential and simulating solar technology performance in arid and dusty environments. ReCREMA received the mandate from the UAE Government to develop the UAE solar and wind atlases. Both atlases have been successfully launched in June 2012 (solar) and January 2015 (wind). ReCREMA is presently involved in several renewable energy resource assessment projects in the Gulf region and in Africa.

Masdar Institute, the Ministry of Energy and Emirates Steel have already signed a ‘Triple Helix’-based tri-lateral agreement to convert the Electric Arc Furnace dust generated at Emirates Steel into suitable materials for construction and buildings in an economically viable manner. The Triple Helix Approach defines a movement toward collaborative relationships among the three major institutional spheres – government, academia and industry.