UAE district cooling market is likely to witness significant growth through 2027, propelled by extreme climate conditions and increased infrastructure spending. Many businesses in the region are adopting DC systems due to their cost-efficiency and long-term service. The systems use 50% less energy than air conditioners, thereby decreasing initial capital investment and maintenance costs. The equipment can operate smoothly for up to a 30 year span, enhancing technology adoption.
District cooling is ideal for large-scale establishments in UAE such as airports, commercial buildings, university campuses, and residential towers. District cooling (DC) technology relies on a centralized cooling plant which facilitates cooling within its grid, through a network of underground insulated pipes carrying chilled water.
UAE district cooling market is estimated to witness significant growth across the industrial sector on account of growing applicability of cooling systems in oil & gas refineries and production and manufacturing plants. With temperatures rising and greater emphasis on sustainability in UAE, these systems will complement the industry outlook.
Rapid industrialization, urbanization, as well as rising energy prices will stimulate the UAE district cooling industry across the residential segment. Technological enhancements will upgrade the overall capacity of prevailing cooling plants and ongoing construction activities. For instance, Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) successfully completed its new district cooling plant located in Za’beel, UAE.
The new DC plant contains 50,000 RT cooling, whereas the existing plant in DIFC is expected to be interconnected with the new plant. DC offers low maintenance advantage, and environmentally friendly operation, by minimizing carbon emissions through lower energy consumption.
UAE district cooling market participants obtain cold water for business operation from oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, and other waste cooling energy sources, which is transferred to urban establishments via DC system networks. The technology facilitates easy cooling production technique, low operational cost and an inclined customer base, which will foster the technology demand.
Robust construction activities, projects and company partnerships for technological advancement across the country will further boost the district cooling market outlook in United Arab Emirates. For instance, in 2020, National Central Cooling Company signed a partnership agreement with Bee’ah, an environmental services pioneer. The companies are planning to develop large-scale DC projects in the Emirate of Sharjah. These agreements positively impact the DC market.
Unlike other markets which faced negative impacts, or delays in operational activities due to government restrictions and lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, UAE DC industry witnessed almost minimal to no delay in operations, due to strong project pipeline industry. Another reason why these cooling systems are gaining popularity across UAE is their feature to be located remotely, enhancing real estate value by freeing up additional space for other operational purposes, accelerating the operational efficiency of businesses and powering district cooling market growth.
Prominent market players operating across the UAE district cooling industry include National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed), Delta District Cooling Services, Veolia, Emicool, Empower, Siemens, and ARANER. Major strategies adopted by the companies include inorganic development, M&As, technical partnerships, as well as product portfolios. For instance, in May 2021, Tabreed partnered with Deloitte and SAP for data analytical and operational improvement, helping Tabreed gain real-time insights on its assets.