Dubai ‘blueprint for innovation’ looks to private investors for energy projects

Out-Law News | 22 Oct 2014 | 3:25 pm | 1 min. read

Dubai’s ruler has unveiled plans to promote a range of power generation projects, including small-scale solar installations, as part of a ‘national innovation strategy’ that aims to make the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “one of the most innovative nations in the world within seven years”.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the strategy would “stimulate innovation” in sectors such as renewable energy and transport, the official Emirates News Agency (Wam) reported.

Sheikh Mohammed said the strategy was a “national development priority”. New legislation would be introduced where necessary as part of plans to encourage “investment in specialised skills, private-sector incentives, international research partnerships, and an innovation drive within government”.

Private firms will be encouraged to establish “innovation and scientific research centres, to adopt new technologies, and to develop innovative products and services”, Sheikh Mohammed said.

According to Wam, a new body will be set up “to deliver decentralised power generation projects” in the renewable energy sector. In addition, there will be “applied research in clean technology”.

According to Wam, current annual “innovation investment” in the UAE is worth around $3.8 billion, of which around $2bn goes to support research and development. “Innovation spending will rise significantly in the years to come,” Wam said.

Earlier this year, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) launched a 10-year plan to upgrade Dubai’s utilities’ infrastructure and launch new initiatives to promote the use of electronic vehicles to reduce pollution.

Dewa’s plan included encouraging more home and building owners to install solar panels for domestic use and export surplus electricity back to the grid.

Dewa said that it aims to boost its generating and distribution capacity, increase the use of advanced ‘smart’ technologies and introduce a network of electric vehicle charging stations to boost the use of electric vehicles and help cut environmental pollution.