Abu Dhabi targets 8.8GW of renewables by 2025 in new COP26 pledge

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Image: Masdar.

Abu Dhabi has said it will bring its renewables capacity up to 8.8GW by 2025 as it seeks to reduce emissions associated with power generation by 50% over the next decade.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hopes to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix to 31% by 2025 from 13% today. It predicts that around 7% of its electricity mix at that time will come from solar, with 47% from nuclear and the rest from fossil fuels.

Its Department of Energy (DOE) announced the initiative at COP26 in Glasgow and outlined its plan that hinges on the continued roll out of solar and other renewables, the electrification of the water production and supporting energy efficiency measures.

Awaidha Al Marar, chairman of the DOE, said that the commitment was “underpinned by a strategic shift to low-carbon technologies with large-scale investment in solar and nuclear energy to drive down emissions” and lauded the city’s track record when it came to sustainability.

“With more upcoming renewable deployments like Abu Dhabi’s 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project due by 2023, as well as the baseload nuclear energy expected upon full operation of the Barakah [nuclear] plant, the total clean power generation capacity in the emirate will reach 8.8GW in 2025, increasing the share of clean energy capacity in the energy mix to 31% by 2025 from 13% in 2021.”

As well as the Al Dhafra project mentioned above, Abu Dhabi is also planning two additional solar projects with a combined capacity of 2GW and has already built the 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi PV plant.

In February, an analysis by Rystad Energy said that the UAE could reach its renewable energy targets thanks to a “robust” development pipeline of solar projects. Installed solar PV is expected to increase fourfold by the end of 2025, reaching 8.5GW, when it will represent around 94% of the country’s renewables capacity.

The city has also been eyeing up green hydrogen production. In May, plans were revealed for a US$1 billion green hydrogen and ammonia facility that will be powered by a dedicated 800MW solar project.