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Abu Dhabi’s energy chief confirms cooperation on BRI plan

2020-01-17 08:57:09 China Daily Global

Abu Dhabi’s energy chief, Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar, says the United Arab Emirates is looking to support energy development in the BRI.

Abu Dhabi's energy chief, Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar, says the United Arab Emirates is looking to support energy development in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, as well as secure further Chinese investment in the UAE's electricity grid.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, or ADSW, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy Chairman Al Marar provided an update on a memorandum of understanding signed between the UAE and China last year.

"Since we signed the MoU with the State Grid Corporation of China, we have held several follow up meetings and exchanged delegations with key Chinese entities," said Al Marar, who heads up energy policy for Abu Dhabi, the second-most populous of the UAE's seven emirates behind Dubai. "Importantly, we were able to identify areas of cooperation in renewable energy policymaking and explored investment opportunities including in the energy transmission and distribution business as well as grid expansion within the UAE."

The UAE is looking to solar and nuclear power to lead its transition from fossil fuel energy generation. Last year, China's Silk Road Fund and a number of Chinese banks lead financing for a 950-megawatt solar farm near Dubai, which promises to be among the world's largest such facilities. In 2017, China's Shanghai Electric was selected as the main contractor for the project.

Al Marar said that UAE-China collaboration on renewable energy will help ensure sustainability along the Belt and Road Initiative, which is an infrastructure and economic development plan proposed by China.

"These type of agreements and the ongoing meetings, research and benchmarking between the Department of Energy and Chinese companies is key to enhancing our cooperation in the renewable energy industry and allows us to share and explore opportunities and future expansion plans that would support China's Belt and Road Initiative and Abu Dhabi's sustainable development goals," Al Marar said.

The UAE continues to generate the majority of its energy through fossil fuels, though Al Marar said the nation is working hard to lessen its reliance on finite resources and ramp up solar capacity.