Clean energy, hybrid cars: The UAE’s takeaways from COP21 Paris

February 25, 2016 6:12 pm


If recent developments in the UAE are any indication, one can confirm that the COP21 conference held in Paris in December has succeeded in driving its message home.

At the climate conference, almost all the nations agreed to keep global warming below 2˚C and committed to bring it down to a 1.5˚C limit.

Clean energy vow

Barely two months on, the UAE is already in action.

As pledged at the Paris conference, the government has begun to implement impressive projects towards a green economy.

It has pledged to increase clean energy’s share of the national energy mix from 0.2 per cent in 2014 to 24 per cent by 2021.

Dubai launched the $27.2 billion Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide seven per cent of the emirate’s energy from sustainable sources by 2020, raising that to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050.

The emirate has also launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar energy project in the world. The solar park will produce 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030 with a total investment of AED50bn.

Dubai has plans to have solar panels on all rooftops in the emirate by 2030.

Climate change dominated the talks in this year’s World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi in January.

Electric and hybrid cars getting popular

In the beginning of February, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) hit the headlines as it announced that half of the city’s taxi fleet will be hybrid cars by 2021.

The move will see the population of hybrid taxi cars going up from 147 in 2015 to 4,750 in 2021 and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 34 per cent, slashing fuel consumption by 33 per cent.

A recent study the UK-based consultancy Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) reveals that there is an increased interest in electric and hybrid modes of transport in the GCC and the UAE in particular.

In order to promote electric vehicles, Dubai has already set up a network of nearly 100 charging stations across the city.

The country has also seen a spurt in the launches of hybrid and fully electric models in the market.

Most recently, Toyota launched its flagship Prius hybrid cars in the country.

Three Prius models have featured on this year’s “Greenest Cars” list, compiled by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Unlike most of other hybrids, the Prius can be driven completely on electrical power or with a combination of electric and gasoline depending on the driving behaviour, says the manufacturer.

“The substantial adoption of electrified powertrain vehicles plays a critical role in the move to meet air quality and emission targets,” says Akin Adamson, Director Middle East Region, TRL.

Adamson believes the eco-friendly vehicles are set to increase in the next few months on the back of factors including availability, government incentives to purchase and charge vehicles, network of charging stations and public awareness and the desire to “go green”.

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By Mujeeb Rahman