Panellists echoed in unison: Energy transition is key to addressing global climate concerns

The 2nd Panel Discussion of the Emirates Environmental Group for 2022 was held virtually with excellent attendance from different parts of the world on 26.4.22, under the title “The Green Grid Initiative: Commencement of the Renewable Energy Generation?” The panel discussion aimed to foster an open conversation about all aspects of the renewable energy industry from the implementation, integration, the need to shift to more sustainable production and consumption of energy and many other vital facets.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in February 2022, the world will face unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.50C. Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption, despite the efforts to reduce the risks. Increased heat-waves, droughts and floods are already exceeding plants and animals tolerance thresholds, driving mass mortalities in species.

These weather extremes are occurring simultaneously, causing cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage. To avoid the mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change and at the same time make rapid deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The panellists in the session agreed in unison that the energy transition holds the key to tackle global climate concerns.

Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Co-founder and Chairperson of EEG, in her opening speech said that “The UAE has always championed the cause of sustainability. The various initiatives for sustainable developments in the UAE have time and again focused on the conservation of the environment through clean energy, green development and finding alternative eco-friendly solutions for the increasing demand for water and electricity requirements in the country. While development of renewable energy sources in the UAE has powered its efforts towards achieving long term sustainability in every aspect of its governance. The renewable energy sources in the UAE will prove monumental in the coming years to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and help it achieve its overall sustainability milestones.”

The distinguished panellists who were invited to contribute to the discussions included:

  1. Dr Raidan AlSaqqaf, Economist, United Nations Office in Abu Dhabi, UAE
  2. Dr. Ahmed Awan, Assistant Professor – College of Engineering and IT, Ajman University
  3. Mr. Carlos Travesedo, Energy Policy Executive Director / in the Department of Energy (DoE)-Abu Dhabi
  4. Mr. Gipin Korah Mani, Country Director, TotalEnergies Solar Middle East
  5. Mr. Christoph Frenkel, Project Leader, Thuringian Renewable Energy Network (ThEEN)

The session was headed by Engr. Faisal Ali Rashid – Senior Director, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy who opened the session and set the right tone for the discussions. The speakers brought to the table the latest innovations in this field and emphasized that world energy consumption has increased between 2000 – 2018, however the energy efficiency has declined by 22.5%. Speaking on the importance of the Green energy, Dr. Raidan stressed on the multi-fold benefits on environmental, financial and societal dimensions. Dr Awan added that Dubai Net Zero Emissions Strategy 2050 aims to provide 100% of its energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. He also talked about the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 that targets to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50% by 2050 while reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70%. Mr. Carlos accentuated that the UAE has become the first Gulf state to commit effectively and efficiently to fully decarbonize and reach net zero greenhouse gases by 2050. Mr. Gipin discussed various renewable solutions to meet the growing demand for storage facilities such as solar, wind and energy. Mr. Frenkel detailed various initiatives taken by ThEEN such as Zero Carbon Cross Energy System, smart Neighbourhood, Green Hydrogen for industrial applications in Thuringia, Environmental heat for Central Germany, and others.

The successful establishment of global renewable grids will effectively contribute to achieving several UN Sustainable Development Goals; #3 – Good Health and Well Being, #7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, #11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, #13 – Climate Action, #14 – Life Below Water, #15 – Life on Land and #17 – Partnership for Goals.

The panel discussion concluded with interactive and detailed round of questions asked to the panellists by the head of the session as well as from the attendees. Overall the virtual session was very informative and the audience took away, in-depth valuable knowledge with varying perspectives from the different sectors of the industry. They also had an overview of the progress made in this field and the actions required to make the global renewable green grid a reality.

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), is a professional working group established in 199 in the United Arab Emirates. It is devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. EEG is actively encouraged and supported by concerned local and federal government agencies. It is the first environmental NGO in the world to be ISO 14001 certified and the only organisation of its kind in the UAE with accredited status to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). EEG is a member of the UN Global Compact, the Global Urban Development (GUD) and the Global Investors for Sustainable Alliance (GISD). It is also a member of the One Planet Network under programme of Sustainable Food System (SFS) and its Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) and Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML).

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