Add 100% RES Capacity to Accommodate Rising Demand

Rapid economic and demographic growth over the past decade pushed the UAE’s electricity grid to its limits. Installed generation capacity continues to rise, reaching 28.6 gigawatts (GW) in 2015. The UAE plans to increase its power generation capacity by around 21 GW by 2030 through various projects. These projects, both planned and under development, are comprised of 26.8% nuclear, 24.3% coal-fired, and 22.5% gas-fired. Solar capacity is expected to contribute 26.1% of the total additional generation capacity. The UAE is promoting renewable energy to meet rapidly growing energy demand and to preserve as much of its domestic oil for export as possible. 

Abu Dhabi expects to bring 1.6GW of renewable capacity online by 2020 while Dubai expects to install approximately 1GW by 2030. These targets pale in comparison to the electricity needs.

Energy situation

Electricity consumption in the UAE reached nearly 112,000 gigawatthours (GWh), placing the UAE among the highest electricity consumers per capita in the world.  


Electricity balance 

Production: 103 billion kWh 

Consumption: 96 billion kWh

Exports: 0 kWh 

Imports: 0 kWh 

Installed generating capacity: 28,6 million kW 

- from fossil fuels: 99.8%

- from nuclear fuels: 0% 

- from hydroelectric plants: 0% 

- from other renewable sources: 0.2%



Investment Plan

Planned Objective 

Report states that electricity peak demand has almost doubled over the past 10 years. It is evident that significant investments in electricity generation have to be undertaken to allow UAE to meet its demand.

The country can reach its electrical goals  in 10 years with an investment of $5.25 billion per year.


Action Plan

Increasing gradually electric power capacity by 15,000 MW for improving the efficiency of energy supply and energy conservation, including:

  • Capacity building..............15,000 MW;
  • Investment required........$52.5 billion;
  • Timeline.................................10 years.

Implementation Plan


Electricity sectors in all Emirates, with the exception of Abu Dhabi, are regulated by state agencies, and Abu Dhabi plans to further privatize its distribution sector. In Abu Dhabi, independent power producers (IPPs) and independent water and power producers (IWPPs) are joint ventures between the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) holding companies and private investors, which hold 60% and 40%, respectively. All IWPPs sell water and electricity to the single state-owned buyer, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company (ADWEC), under 20-year power and water purchase agreements. 

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) owns and operates all power production and water desalination plants in Dubai and all of the Emirate’s transmission and distribution networks. DEWA has allowed for private sector participation in energy generation and water production by adopting the IWPP model, and these IWPPs would, in turn, sell their capacity and output to the single buyer, DEWA.


These initiatives should not be dismissed as mere attempts to bolster the UAE’s public image and international standing. Rather, they are strategic choices by the UAE’s leadership to promote the economic well being of the country and its people.

After all, these programs:

● Help meet the UAE’s growing demand for power. The UAE’s energy demand is increasing at an annual rate of about 9%, due largely to population growth and expanding industrial capacity;

● Reduce the UAE’s dependence on natural gas imports. The UAE is currently a net importer of natural gas, with gas imports from Qatar via the Dolphin Pipeline meeting approximately 30% of the UAE’s energy requirements;

● Preserve the UAE’s lucrative oil exports, protect the UAE’s environment and thus promote the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

● Provide business opportunities for UAE companies and thereby create employment possibilities for UAE nationals.


Emirate                        Capacity 

Abu Dhabi                    4,700 MW

Ajman                           1,120 MW

Dubai                            5,400 MW 

Fujairah                           415 MW 

Ras al-Khaimah             515 MW

Sharjah                        2,640 MW

Umm al-Quwain            210 MW