The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects that electricity generated from renewable sources in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will rise to 12 percent by 2026. This rate is approximately double the amount the UAE generated in 2022. The IEA also indicated an increase in the total contribution of renewable sources in the electricity mix from 5 percent in 2022 to 8 percent in 2023.
Demand for electricity
The IEA noted in its latest report that the rate of electricity consumption in the UAE increased last year by about 3 percent. It also expects that the total electricity demand will expand at an annual rate of about 2.6 percent from this year until 2026.
The agency also indicated the UAE’s readiness to operate the fourth reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant this year. Moreover, it indicated that with this new addition, the station will be able to meet more than 25 percent of the country’s energy demand. Therefore, this will contribute to reducing natural gas use to 64 percent with the rise in nuclear power generation and the accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources.
As for energy emissions in the UAE, they decreased by 11 percent in 2023. This is due to the significant increases in both renewable and nuclear energy use. Hence, the agency expects another 9 percent decrease this year with the start of operations in the fourth reactor of the Barakah station.
At the global level, the IEA expects the demand for electricity to grow faster during the next three years. This is with the growth of renewable energy sources and the acceleration of the transition to clean energy. It also expects the rate of nuclear power generation to reach a historic level by 2025.
The agency’s data and statistics also indicate that low-emission sources will constitute about half of the world’s total electricity generation by 2026, compared to about 40 percent last year. During this period, the IEA expects clean sources to cover the entire additional global demand for electricity.
Emissions decline globally
The IEA stressed in its report that low-cost solar energy and nuclear power play a pivotal role in influencing the rate of global emissions decline. Hence, the increase in electricity generated from nuclear energy coincides with the increase in production in France and the return of many stations in Japan to work. In addition, new reactors have begun operations in several countries such as China and India.
As for the Middle East, the agency revealed that the density of carbon dioxide in power generation decreased by 2.3 percent to 552g of CO2/kWh in 2023. This comes amid an increase in the share of nuclear power generation led by the UAE.
Moreover, carbon dioxide density is expected to decline further by an annual average of 1.7 percent to 497g of CO2/kWh from 2024 to 2026. This comes with an increase in the share of nuclear power generation and renewable energy sources in the electricity mix across the region.
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