As the United Arab Emirates’ energy transition gathers pace before it hosts the United Nations climate conference next year, it is looking to climate partners such as China to help it sustain the momentum, its climate change special envoy says. Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said the UAE is seeing “record growth in renewables”, representing more than 80 per cent of all new power-generating capacity last year. However, he said, a transformative and pragmatic global energy transition is needed to deliver climate action; and while wind and solar accounted for the vast majority of all new power-generating capacity last year, this still only accounts for 4 per cent of today’s energy mix. A successful energy transition mu st make progress with economic and climate action in tandem, he said. “I see many more opportunities for collaboration with China as we continue to build and adapt to clean-energy solutions.” Dr Al Jaber praised China’s focus on excellence in all aspects of the renewable energy supply chain, from research and development to materials, manufacturing and installation, which he said “sets the standard for other countries to follow”.
“Solar, in particular, is an example of where the government has encouraged growth with Supporting policies, resulting in China’s leadership in both solar power generation and manufacturing. There is much to learn from this example.”
China’s leadership in technology “is also helping the world take advantage of the commercial opportunities of the energy transition”, Dr Al Jaber said, citing a consortium of Chinese companies that is partnering with the UAE to develop and build Al Dhafra Solar Park, 35 kilometres south of Abu Dhabi.
It will become one of the world’s largest solar plants, delivering more than 2 gigawatts of clean energy, Al Jaber said.
China “is leading the world with respect to solar, in both manufacturing and supply chains”, he said. The UAE, he said, has three of the world’s largest single-site solar plants. The Noor Abu Dhabi Solar plant has 3.2 million solar panels and has been developed with expertise and investment from the Chinese clean technology company Jinko Power.
“As we prepare for COP 28 UAE, there are many lessons we can draw on from China’s experience in practical, commercially viable clean tech development,” Dr Al Jaber said.
COP 28 next year is the 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. COP 27 will be held in Egypt in November.