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UAE Emerges as Leader in Clean Energy Technology

A coal-fired power plant in Shanxi province, China.
A coal-fired power plant in Shanxi province, China.

Climate talks are happening in Paris at the moment, but many are uninterested in the proceedings. World leaders promise to commit to clean energy technology, but their programs often do not seem to cause any real change.

However, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are examples of cities that have made real changes to their infrastructure, and in particular, have come to rely less on coal.

Coal is a particularly dirty fossil fuel, emitting twice as many pollutants as natural gas. It also provides nearly a half of the world’s power, at 41%. There are also plans for 2,440 to be commissioned by 2030, most of which are located in China and India.

To get away from coal, Abu Dhabi began to seriously invest in clean energy technology starting in 2006, spending billions of dollars. Abu Dhabi is also home to the International Renewable Energy Agency, so they are well-positioned to assist other cities with planning and development and will likely be able to help ith financing too, given their success.

Dubai has also made a serious effort to introduce clean energy technology into its infrastructure. The city is building a solar park that will generate a majority of the 5,000 MW they are planning to install. 13,000 MW of solar panels are already in action and sending power to the grid.

The local government is also offering some strong incentives to business and homeowners who add solar capacity to their roof space. Dh100 billion will be available for low-cost loans to help potential buyers with start-up costs.

In addition to Abu Dhabi, Dubai has also made investments in the future. Their Innovation Centre, currently under construction, is described as the “Silicon Valley for clean energy innovations”.

Image (c) AP Photo

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