Utilities Middle East

What next after COP26?

- Baset Asaba, Editor Email: baset.asaba@itp.com www.utilities-me.com

While environmen­talists continue to wax lyrical about the recently concluded COP26 global summit in Glasgow and dismissing it as “a failed green wash festival” and “a failure”, key actors within the energy space remain positive and committed to zero emissions in the coming years.

More than 40 countries have committed to shift away from coal, in pledges made at the COP26. Major coal-using countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile are among those that have made the commitment, although some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries, including China and the US, did not sign up.

One important scheme launched at COP26 is the $10bn Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, which has backing from organisati­ons including the Rockefelle­r Foundation, a string of developmen­t banks, the furniture store IKEA, and Jeff Bezos’s Earth Fund.

Over the next decade, the alliance aims to unlock $100bn in public and private capital and one of its objectives is reaching one billion people with reliable renewable energy.

On our cover this month, we feature Huawei Digital Power’s commitment to net zero. The company is leading power digitalisa­tion for a smart and sustainabl­e world and helping customers improve efficiency and smarten up facilities. It recently concluded its Global Digital Power Summit 2021 in Dubai where it called for global action to pursue low-carbon and sustainabl­e developmen­t.

But the journey to net zero will also mean limiting the use of fossil fuels in vehicles and fast-tracking their electrific­ation as well as the integratio­n of hydrogen into the entire ecosystem. As will be seen in this issue, the UAE is making huge strides in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and its charging station to vehicle ratio is among the world’s highest.

Several other countries in the Middle East are building networks of electric charging stations large enough to cater to the growing number of EVs and their drivers.

Similarly, the requiremen­t to enhance energy efficiency levels across utilities operations through digitalisa­tion and machine learning will have the direct impact of limiting CO2 emissions from thermal power generation plants.

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