UAE invests £134bn in renewables in push to reach 50% clean energy target

Oil-rich Gulf state has pledged that half of its energy will be generated from renewable sources by 2050

A construction worker stands beside a solar panel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 16 April 2007
A construction worker stands beside a solar panel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 16 April 2007

The United Arab Emirates is investing $163bn (£134bn) in clean energy projects to ensure that half of the country’s power needs are generated from renewable sources by 2050.

“Our aim is to balance our economic needs with our environmental goals,” the UAE’S Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said unveiling the new energy strategy on Tuesday.

“He who does not think of energy is not thinking about the future. The UAE government has made an achievement in drawing up a unified energy strategy for the country."

The UAE is a major oil exporter - but also, given its Arabian Gulf location, has considerable solar power potential.

Several Middle Eastern countries - such as Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE - are trying to shift away from both their economic and domestic energy reliance on oil, after prices fell by more than half last year.

By 2050, Mr Maktoum said, hopefully 44 per cent of the country’s energy usage would come from renewable sources, 38 per cent from gas, 12 per cent from cleaner fossil fuel, and six per cent from nuclear power.

Currently, the UAE ranks eighth on the World Bank’s list of greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions per capita.

Dubai king finds offices empty

Dubai and Abu Dhabi - the country’s major cities - have previously led green initiatives to wean the country off dependence on fossil fuels.

In 2013 Abu Dhabi managed to move 20,000 homes onto a solar power grid, and started work on four planned nuclear reactors.

In June 2016, Dubai announced the creation of a solar power plant, to be completed by 2030.

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