Industry Incentives in the UAE
Incentive #1: Tipping fee to support waste-to-energy solutions
Waste-to-energy can make a significant contribution to the UAE’s sustainability agenda reducing waste to landfills and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. A stumbling block for projects, however, has been the lack or low level of fees for waste disposal, which would typically be a revenue stream for these type of plants. Without this fee, UAE utilities would have to pay a premium tariff to the plant owner for its electricity output, which is unattractive.
A new waste disposal fee system could accelerate deployment. Sharjah in particular, under the leadership of Bee’ah, has produced a supportive fee structure. As an alternative example, the Qatari government funded 100% of capital and operating expenses for its 50 MW waste-to-energy plant.
Incentive #2: Feed-in-tariffs
While large power plants may offer cost efficiencies, a policy framework for distributed generation could mobilize private investment and social support for renewable energy. The new regulations in Dubai would encourage individuals to produce their own ‘green electricity’ and the excess to be sent to the grid which would help offset the customer’s utility bills in the future.
Incentive #3: Solar water heating regulation
Solar water heating is already economical in the UAE, making it potentially attractive for government intervention. The UAE has periodically required certain technologies and products to be used once their pay-back period has been made attractive, as see in its ban on the lowest-performing of air-conditioning units.
Incentive #4: Transport
The use of hybrid and electric vehicles has already been implemented with government-funded EV recharging stations in place. Also, replacement of market-priced diesel with repurposing of waste cooking fuel has begun to happen. Biogas from waste processes is also promising particularly given its long and successful history in other countries. In the UAE, biogas could require government alignment of different state-owned entities
As for biofuels, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology consortium for bio jet fuels is a potentially useful example, and recognition of the scarce available resources in the country for sustainable aviation jet fuels. The UAE could also investigate the lifecycle impacts of importing biofuels from other countries.
The renewables sector has been a key priority for the country which is evident thru UAE’s expansion of clean-energy projects, funding of renewable projects abroad and producing solar energy at the most cost competitive rate globally. With thousands of megawatts of solar power projects underway to tapping into wind, nuclear, waste-to-energy and other renewable sectors, Dubai was the first in the region to begin the transition towards a smart and sustainable city and with long-term plans in place, they are dedicated to achieving goals of sustainability, health and environmental betterment, resource efficiency, waste reduction and green transport systems. Regulations, incentives, foreign collaboration and key authority bodies are helping establish global renewable roadmaps which has helped provide a cohesive strategy. Taking this one step further the UAE has additionally dedicated resources towards research and development, revising frameworks and guidelines and even implementing green technologies across public and private sectors to truly propel themselves to the forefront of this green revolution.
Until we rendezvous again,