Infrastructure plan sets Dubai on course for ‘smart’ energy and transport systems

Out-Law News | 21 Aug 2014 | 4:40 pm | 1 min. read

A 10-year plan to upgrade Dubai’s utilities’ infrastructure and launch new initiatives to promote the use of electronic vehicles to reduce pollution has been announced by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

Dewa said that it aimed 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.

Dewa said the plan is in addition to annual upgrades of the region’s transmission and distribution systems.

Three key initiatives are included in the plan, Dewa said. The first initiative will be to encourage more home and building owners to install solar panels for domestic use and export surplus electricity back to the grid.

The installation of smart meters forms part of the second initiative. Dewa said increased use of smart meters will help consumers monitor their energy use more effectively while promoting energy conservation and efficiency. Advanced technology including fibre optic cables will be used to transmit usage data and other information to help Dewa optimise services.

Dewa said it has installed 70,000 smart meters to date and a further 200,000 meters are set to be installed in the next phase.

Promoting the use of electric vehicles is the third initiative outlined in Dewa’s plan. Dewa said it is working with the transport sector including car manufacturers, airports, shopping malls, petrol stations and local transport authorities.

Dewa said it plans to cooperate with the Dubai Municipality and local industry to install 100 charging stations “in various areas of Dubai”, such as malls, airports, commercial buildings, over a one-year period.

Dewa’s chief executive officer and managing director Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said: “We seek to achieve that by focusing our efforts on setting up an excellent energy infrastructure that meets the Emirate’s development needs.”

Al Tayer said the hosting of the Expo 2020 Dubai world fair was acting as a catalyst for a wide range of infrastructure projects. He said the event “will be a unique opportunity for us to show the world our excellence in the public utilities and infrastructure sectors... and to help make our country a leading international economic hub.”

Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to attract 25 million visitors, 70% of whom will be from overseas. Innovation in transport, logistics and development of renewable energy are key themes of the event.

According to a Middle East survey published in June 2014 by professional services firm PwC (28-page / 1.25 MB PDF), 75% of respondents expected an increase in spending over the next 12 months, “largely driven by mega events” as well as increased spending on social infrastructure.

The International Monetary Fund said in June that the UAE’s economic growth is expected to be 4.8% in 2014 and about 4.5% in coming years, supported by “megaprojects” such as the successful bid for Expo 2020.