Dubai will spend billions of dollars on generating clean energy, the government said on Saturday, aiming to have solar panels installed on the roofs of all buildings by 2030.
The fast-growing desert city state of 2.4 million, located in one of the hottest regions of the world, uses huge amounts of energy to air-condition its skyscrapers and provide water supplies through desalination.
The Dubai government will encourage building owners to place solar panels on their roofs and link them to a network of the local power utility, Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in a statement. All Dubai buildings would have solar cells by 2030.
Dubai also serves as business and technology centre for oil producing states across the Gulf Arab region, so its plans could have an impact on energy policy well beyond its borders.
The authorities plan to establish a 100 billion dirham ($27 billion) fund to provide low-cost loans for investors in Dubai’s clean energy sector. The statement did not say where the money for this or the other energy initiatives would come from.
Dubai plans 500 million dirhams of investment in research into areas such as integration of smart power grids and energy efficiency.
It intends to create a tax-free business zone to attract clean energy companies from around the world, Sheikh Mohammed said. It has used similar zones to lure foreign investment in banking, commodities trading and other industries.
A solar park being built in Dubai is to have a generating capacity of 800 megawatts in April 2017 and 5,000 MW by 2030, or a quarter of the emirate’s energy production in that year. Total investment in the project is estimated at 50 billion dirhams.
Dubai aims to obtain 7 percent of its energy from relatively clean sources by 2020, raising that to 25 percent in 2030 and 75 percent in 2050, Sheikh Mohammed said. Energy sources will include natural gas, solar, clean coal and nuclear; the United Arab Emirates plans to start up its first nuclear plant in 2017.