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UAE Statement to the 2nd Annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum

Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Majid Al Suwaidi
United Nations

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is proud today to reaffirm its commitment to meeting the goals of Sustainable Energy for All, and to highlight significant international and domestic contributions.

The UAE recognized early on that energy diversification would be the future, and this outlook has been resoundingly validated.  Renewables and energy efficiency now offer an unprecedented combination of cost savings, energy security, and climate change mitigation, making them the sustainable development solution that the international community has been waiting for.  Moreover, renewables and efficiency dramatically reduce the cost of universal energy access, representing a breakthrough for poverty eradication.  For instance, solar is now competitive for electricity in many parts of the world even if the oil price were to plummet to $10/barrel.

Domestically, the UAE is seizing this opportunity.  Dubai tripled its renewable energy target to 15% by 2030, and has announced tenders for 1000 MW of solar projects.  For energy efficiency, we this year enacted a ban on incandescent lightbulbs and also underwent significant power and water tariff reform.  We have also strengthened our regulatory frameworks to allow for private sector investment in efficiency through energy service companies. 

Internationally, we are taking the same growth approach.  Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s strategic renewable energy company, has announced another raft of major commercial projects, including in Egypt, the UK, Jordan, and Oman. 

Our renewable energy development assistance programme also continues to grow, to over $700 million.  Alongside 6 existing agreements in the Pacific, this year we are committing to projects in the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Solomon Islands, as well as to new projects in Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.  Major ongoing energy access projects include Egypt and Morocco.  We are also delighted to confirm successful operation of previous SE4A commitments, including a major wind farm in the Seychelles, energy access projects in Afghanistan, and a solar plant in Mauritania representing 10% of the country’s generation capacity.

In support of cross-cutting elements of the energy agenda, the UAE this year is also reinforcing support for both women's empowerment and technological innovation.  In January we launched the Women in Sustainability, Environment, and Renewable Energy initiative to provide a highly visible platform for female leaders, young professionals, and students at major global cleantech and innovation events, including the SE4A Forum.  

On the innovation side, the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world's preeminent award for clean energy and sustainability at $4 million annually, has announced new laureates, and we are delighted that some of them have joined us at the Forum, including  students from Australia, Malawi, and the US.

As I trust you will have gathered, we believe that the case for sustainable energy is indisputable.  We see it as a critical link among the UN’s three summits this year, with its benefits for all dimensions of development, and where a mix of strengthened ODA and domestic policy reform can unlock private investment.  As we move from the negotiations to implementation, we look forward to working with fellow Member States, the Secretariat, and other stakeholders to ensure we do not miss this historic opportunity.