Home » ENEC Showcases the Substantial Contribution of Nuclear Energy to Achieving UAE Net Zero at the World Utilities Congress

ENEC Showcases the Substantial Contribution of Nuclear Energy to Achieving UAE Net Zero at the World Utilities Congress

by Mohammad Ghazal

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) highlighted the increasingly significant contribution of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant towards the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative and efforts to tackle climate change at the World Utilities Congress (WUC), held in Abu Dhabi from 8 to 10 May 2023.

With eyes on the global energy sector ahead of COP28 in the UAE, the WUC will convene global energy leaders, policymakers, innovators, and industry professionals from across the power & water utilities value chain as utilities worldwide work to deliver secure, sustainable, and affordable energy. The theme of WUC 2023 is ‘enabling a secure and sustainable utilities future’ with the industry converging to discuss the trends and technologies impacting future power and water demand.

During WUC, ENEC showcased the continued impact and progress of the Barakah Plant, a nation-defining strategic energy infrastructure project, alongside global utilities leaders. Barakah is spearheading the rapid decarbonisation of the UAE’s power sector and over the winter months, the Plant was generating up to 48% of Abu Dhabi’s electricity 24/7, with all of it being carbon-free.

His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: “Decarbonising the utilities sector in a sustainable manner is essential if the world is to achieve Net Zero. Bringing together experts from across the UAE and internationally is key to identifying realistic solutions to accelerating energy and water security. The UAE is already well ahead of the curve, having taken the decision to add nuclear energy to the national mix, which is having a swift and deep impact on decarbonising the country’s power portfolio.  ENEC’s leadership has showcased a new model to the world for nuclear developments, with Barakah recognised as a global benchmark in terms of impact, success, project management and cost. It is a pleasure to be lead supporter for the Nuclear Energy Forum, where experts have convened to discuss the critical role of nuclear in achieving Net Zero along with the latest technologies and related clean energy sources such as hydrogen and ammonia that will accelerate innovation for the global clean energy transition.” 

H.E. Al Hammadi gave a speech during the opening ceremony of the WUC alongside distinguished guests Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and Chief Executive Officer of UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA), His Excellency Suhail Bin Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, His Excellency Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, and Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO & Managing Director of TAQA. The strategic conference allows industry leaders to directly engage policymakers and discuss the support they need to ensure a secure and sustainable power and water future.

“Energy security and decarbonisation are two the most important priorities for governments and utilities today seeking clean energy security. With global electricity demand set to double by 2050, clean, reliable and abundant power generation capacity has become crucial for sustainable urban development and economic growth. As a result, we are seeing an increasing number of countries turning to nuclear for clean baseload electricity. The UAE’s energy portfolio includes solar, natural gas and nuclear and in the future, it will also include other clean energy technologies. While nuclear energy has already become the largest source of clean electricity in the UAE and wider region in just three years, and delivering the largest decarbonisation impact in the nation’s history, we are now moving into the next phase of our civil nuclear energy journey. I look forward to showcasing our nation’s success so far in terms of enhancing energy security and sustainability at COP28 and demonstrating to the world the benefits and infinite possibilities of nuclear energy,” H.E. Al Hammadi said.

H.E. Al Hammadi also gave the welcome address to the Nuclear Energy Forum highlighting the importance of nuclear energy to deliver Net Zero and the UAE’s roadmap for the future. The dedicated Nuclear Energy Forum ran alongside the exhibition focusing on the role of nuclear energy in tackling climate change and will provide updates on new and emerging technologies in the nuclear industry.

H.E. Al Hammadi said: “Our success with the Barakah Plant has resulted in creating a new benchmark for nuclear as part of a balanced low-carbon energy system. Today, the UAE is exploring plans that span regional power exports, green molecules, alternative clean fuels and advanced nuclear technologies including Small Modular Reactors. Meanwhile, we will continue to enhance decarbonisation and sustainability…. building on the success we have already achieved in the areas such as clean energy certificates and green financing.”

In addition, Al Hammadi featured on the panel ‘Achieving net zero and ensuring energy security: What is the blueprint for solving these dual challenges with nuclear?’ discussing the importance of including nuclear in the energy mix to meet net-zero commitments. The panel explained how nuclear energy is the world’s second-largest source of low-carbon energy after hydro and is key to achieving global climate targets.

The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program is a vital part of the UAE’s clean energy ecosystem of low-carbon technologies, ensuring the sustainability, reliability, and resiliency of the UAE grid for at least the next 60 years. Gas demand for electricity is now at an 11 year low in Abu Dhabi because of the significant transformation in how the Emirate is generating its electricity.

The three commercially operational units at Barakah provide electricity at all times of the day and night, sustainably powering the nation’s growth. A fourth unit is close to completion and all four combined will provide 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs.

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