The population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is approximately 9.98 million people. The country consists of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain). In 2019, 100% of the people in this Middle Eastern country had access to electricity.
In 2019, the UAE’s economy was ranked 29th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of crude oil, refined petroleum, natural gas, gold, jewelry, and perfume.
In 2016, the UAE signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to “limit” emissions and increase the share of “clean energy” in the energy mix to 24% by 2021.
In 2017, the UAE launched the national “Energy Strategy 2050.” The government’s goal is to generate 50% of the country’s electricity from power plants that generate zero greenhouse gas emissions (renewable and nuclear) by 2050.
In 2018, private and public sector utilities in the country used natural gas (98%) and renewable energy (2%) to generate electricity in the country. Solar is the primary source of renewable energy in the UAE.
Recent zero-greenhouse gas emission power projects (renewable and nuclear) in the UAE include:
- 800 MW Solar Project – In November 2020, the Dubai Water and Electric Authority (DEWA) commissioned the 3rd phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is located approximately 30 miles south of the city of Dubai.
- 950 MW Solar Project – DEWA is continuing work on the 4th phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is forecast to be commissioned in 3rd Quarter of 2021.
- 900 MW Solar Project – In September 2020, Saudi Arabian utility, ACWA Power commenced construction of the 5th phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
- 1,400 MW Nuclear Project – In December 2020, Emirati company, Nawah Energy Company commissioned the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, which is located approximately 150 miles west of city of Abu Dhabi.
Commercial oil was first discovered in the UAE in 1958 and is a major component of the country’s economy. In 2020, the UAE was the 3rd largest oil and 9th largest liquified natural gas exporting country in the world.
Why is the UAE aggressively developing major zero greenhouse gas power plants? Economics pure and simple.
The UAE recognizes that fossil fuels like oil and natural gas are not renewable and the nation’s hydrocarbons will eventually be depleted. The government’s goal is to use renewable and nuclear energy for domestic power, while preserving oil and natural gas for foreign export.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
 United Arab Emirates – The World Bank Group
 Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank
 OEC – United Arab Emirates
 United Arab Emirates State of Energy Report 2019
 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – United Arab Emirates
 The World Fact Book