Working towards a common energy-transition goal

28 November 2022

Published in partnership with

In the end, it went right to the wire. Just as it looked like the UN’s 27th Conference of the Parties (Cop27) would conclude without an accord, the weary delegates announced that they had reached a landmark agreement on setting up a fund to help compensate poorer nations for the economic and social destruction caused by climate change. 

The statement, two days after the Sharm el-Sheikh summit’s original 18 November end date, was a culmination of some 30 years of negotiations between developed economies and developing nations. The latter had long argued that the damage they have experienced from global warming should be paid for by richer countries responsible for the crisis in the first place.

Although far from perfect, the global ‘loss and damage’ fund was hailed as an important and symbolic step towards hitting the agreed target of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2030. It also marked the continuing engagement and collaboration by governments across the globe.

“We rose to the occasion,” said Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and president of Cop27 Sameh Shoukry. 

“We worked around the clock, day and night, but united in working for one gain, one higher purpose, one common goal. In the end, we delivered. We listened to the calls of anguish and despair.”

Private sector involvement

While Cop27 has been and will continue to be a policy-setting mechanism negotiated at the highest level, companies played a critical role during the conference. 

Firms representing a broad range of sectors, including Vodafone, Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group and Bloomberg, partnered with the event, and many more participated in the main conference and exhibition areas. 

Ultimately, governments understand that the private sector will lead the drive towards net zero. Without corporates worldwide investing in clean energy projects and technology, there is little hope that targets will be reached.

Five consistency points

A key supporter of Cop27 was Siemens Energy. Sharing its expertise through panels covering subjects as varied as the Mediterranean’s North-South Energy Partnership, improving power access in Africa by unlocking its green hydrogen potential, and overcoming the challenges of decarbonisation, the energy technology company played a pivotal role in discussions and thought leadership.

It also participated in the world leader’s summit at a roundtable discussing green hydrogen, reinforcing its positioning of energy transition at the heart of its strategy. 

Before the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, Siemens Energy president and CEO Christian Bruch outlined five points of consistency that his company considers to be unifying elements in the decarbonisation drive.

The first is the acceleration of renewables. Replacing conventional power generation systems with solar, wind, hydro and other forms of renewable energy is essential to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Despite a considerable increase in the overall share of renewables in the past three years on the back of ever-lowering costs and more efficient technology, more must still be done.

For example, the US needs to triple its share of renewable energy as a proportion of the energy mix by 2050 for the energy transition to succeed. The Asia-Pacific region, meanwhile, will have to increase this figure fourfold. 

Regional targets

In the Middle East, every country has now set ambitious targets to increase renewable energy. The likes of Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UAE are aiming for renewables to account for up to 50 per cent of total production by 2030. To reach these objectives, almost all new power generation projects come in the form of renewables.

However, the impact of greener electricity production could be somewhat offset by continuing demand growth caused by an increasing global population and economic growth. 

In this context, the second point is the requirement for improved energy conservation measures, such as policies to incentivise the electrification of industry and transport. 

Regionally, the industrial electrification of energy-intensive industries is an optimal opportunity to reduce harmful emissions by harnessing electric boilers and/or electricity-based fuels. Future large-scale blue and green hydrogen production will also have a role to play in industrial processes.

Siemens Energy’s third point of consistency is improving electrical efficiency. The increase in renewable energy capacity and the growth in power capacity, in general, require significant investment in transmission and distribution networks. 

This is particularly important in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, where almost 25 per cent of the population has little to no access to electricity. 

The fourth point covers the requirement to use existing conventional power infrastructure to help bridge the gap between the fossil-fuelled economies of today and the net zero of tomorrow. 

Progress cannot be made in one step alone and requires a gradual transition. In the meantime, existing thermal plants can employ measures such as combined-cycle technology and carbon capture to make them as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.

The energy transition is the biggest investment programme since the dawn of industrialisation. If governments, business and society work together, energy transition is a massive opportunity

Christian Bruch, Siemens Energy president and CEO

Mineral production

Finally, to achieve all of this, it is necessary to improve supply chains and increase the production of necessary minerals and rare earth metals required in net-zero technologies, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and chromium. 

Bruch gives the example of a typical electric car, which requires six times more mineral inputs than one powered by an internal combustion engine. He also cites onshore wind plants, which need nine times more than a gas-fired power plant. 

If mineral production is not increased and geographically diversified, there is a risk of future supply bottlenecks.

In the Middle East, a good illustration of this is the potential future supply gap for electrolyser systems, and the anodes and cathodes typically made from metals such as zinc, nickel and lithium. 

MEED estimates that about 75GW of electrolyser production capacity will be required by 2030 to meet the demand for the raft of planned green hydrogen plants in the region alone, compared with a total global output capacity of just 8GW today.

Industrial decarbonisation alliance

All five consistency points make salient arguments. However, they can only be achieved with close cooperation between the private and public sectors. While the former can spearhead and implement the decarbonisation drive, the latter can provide the regulations and incentives to encourage these initiatives. 

The newly formed Alliance for Industry Decarbonization initiated by Siemens Energy and coordinated and facilitated by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an example of greater collaboration between the public and private sectors. 

The 28-member alliance – which encompasses a range of global energy, renewable, consulting and manufacturing companies – met for the first time during Cop27 to outline its joint vision and implementation plan. Its strategy focuses on six pillars and enablers that tie into the points of consistency: renewables, green hydrogen, bioenergy with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), heat process optimisation, human capital and finance.

Only through this kind of stakeholder dialogue can the immense and existential challenges posed by global warming be overcome. Governments or companies acting in isolation will only achieve so much on their own. The points of consistency must be considered as a whole and in unison if the world’s climate objectives are to succeed.

As Bruch says: “The energy transition is the biggest investment programme since the dawn of industrialisation. If governments, business and society work together, energy transition is a massive opportunity. There is no excuse for waiting any longer.”

Related reads:

Click here to visit Siemens Energy
MEED Editorial
Related Articles
  • Ewec wants carbon-capture readiness for next gas power plant

    17 April 2024

    The request for proposals (RFPs) that will be issued for the next combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant in Abu Dhabi will explicitly require the developers or developer consortiums to accommodate the installation of carbon-capture facilities once they are commercially viable.

    "A key part of the RFP is to make a declaration that this project will be carbon-capture ready … that such facility will be installed as part of the project once carbon-capture solutions become commercially viable," Andy Biffen, executive director of asset development at Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec), told the ongoing World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

    As MEED previously reported, Ewec is considering issuing a tender in the next few weeks for its first gas-fired independent power producer (IPP) project since 2020.

    The greenfield Taweelah C gas-fired IPP is planned to reach commercial operation by 2027, according to a recent Ewec capacity procurement statement.

    "We understand that they might skip the expressions of interest and request for qualifications stage and directly invite qualified developers to bid for the contract," two sources familiar with the project previously told MEED.

    The planned Taweelah C gas-fired IPP is expected to have a power generation capacity of 2,457MW.

    Ewec awarded its last CCGT IPP nearly four years ago. Japan's Marubeni Corporation won the contract to develop the Fujairah F3 IPP in 2020.

    The state utility is considering new gas-fired capacity in light of expiring capacity from several independent water and power producer (IWPP) facilities.

    The plants that will reach the end of their existing contracts during the 2023-29 planning period include:

    •  Shuweihat S1 (1,615MW, 101 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD)): expires in June 2025
    •  Sas Al Nakhl (1,670MW, 95MIGD): expires in July 2027
    •  Taweelah B (2,220MW, 160MIGD): expires in October 2028
    •  Taweelah A1 (1,671MW, 85MIGD): expires in July 2029

    Ewec and the developers and operators of these plants are expected to enter into discussions before the expiry of the contracts to decide whether a contract extension is possible. Unsuccessful negotiations will lead to the dismantling of the assets at the end of the contract period.

    In 2022, MEED reported that Abu Dhabi had wound down the operation of Taweelah A2, the region's first IWPP. The power and water purchase agreement supporting the project expired in September 2021 and was not extended.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Flooding puts spotlight on Dubai construction quality

    17 April 2024

    Colin Foreman

    The storm that engulfed Dubai on 16 April and the resulting flood damage will raise questions about the quality of construction in the emirate.

    Videos of extensive flood damage to property and infrastructure have been widely shared across social media, and those personally affected have questioned why the damage was so severe.

    There is not one single answer. The storm was said to be the most severe to have hit Dubai for decades, and some have described it as a 100-year storm. One other theory widely circulated during the day about it being caused by cloud seeding has been officially dismissed by the government.

    With such extreme weather, most will accept that some damage is inevitable. The question will be whether elements of the damage could have been prevented, which is where questions over construction quality will emerge.

    The two main concerns will be why buildings are not better waterproofed and infrastructure is not more effectively drained.

    Each flooding incident will have its own specific issues, but the reasons will come from three key areas: design, construction and maintenance. 

    Many projects will not have been designed to cope with such a deluge. Others will have been poorly constructed, allowing water to ingress into properties, and others will have drainage that was poorly maintained and failed when it was most needed.

    Dubai is heavily incentivised to address these concerns. In the past, Dubai has been a transient city with many expatriates living and working in the emirate for only a few years. There has been little collective memory of major weather incidents.

    As the emirate establishes itself as a permanent home for more people, including many property owners, that memory will now remain. Those memories may be painful today, but they will help guard against such severe damage in the future.
    Colin Foreman
  • Abu Dhabi tenders 1.5GW Khazna solar contract

    17 April 2024


    State utility Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) has issued the request for proposals (RFP) for a contract to develop and operate the UAE capital's fourth utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project.

    The planned Khazna solar independent power project (IPP), also known as PV4, will have a capacity of 1,500MW.

    It will be located in Khazna, between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, and is expected to reach commercial operation by 2027.

    Ewec expects to receive bids for the contract "in the third quarter of 2024".  

    The state utility prequalified nine companies and consortiums as managing members and another 10 that can bid as consortium members.

    Parties or companies that are prequalified as managing members are free to bid either individually or as part of a consortium. These include:

    • Acwa Power (Saudi Arabia)
    • EDF Renewables (France)
    • International Power (Engie, France)
    • Jera Company (Japan)
    • Jinko Power (China)
    • Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kowepo, South Korea)
    • Marubeni Corporation (Japan)
    • Sumitomo Corporation (Japan)
    • TotalEnergies Renewables (France)

    The following companies can bid as part of a consortium with a managing member: 

    • Al Jomaih Energy & Water (Jena, Saudi Arabia)
    • Avaada Energy (India)
    • Buhur for Investment Company (Saudi Arabia)
    • China Machinery Engineering Corporation (China)
    • China Power Engineering Consulting Group International Engineering Corporation (CPECC, China)
    • Kalyon Enerji Yatrimlari (Turkey)
    • Korea Western Power Company (Kowepo, South Korea)
    • Orascom Construction (Egypt)
    • PowerChina International Group
    • SPIC Huanghe Hydropower Development (Spic, China)

    Ewec's PV1, or Noor Abu Dhabi, has a capacity of 935MW and has been operational since 2019.

    PV2, the 1,584MW Al Dhafra solar IPP, was inaugurated in November 2023. 

    Ewec is understood to have recently awarded the contract to develop PV3, the 1,500MW Al Ajban solar IPP, to a team led by French utility developer EDF Renewables and including South Korea's Korea Western Power Company (Kowepo).

    Ewec said solar energy is integral to achieving its target of producing nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable and clean energy sources by 2030.

    This is due to its "low generation cost and its contribution to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity generation process".

    Like the first three schemes, Khazna solar PV will involve the development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and ownership of the plant and associated infrastructure.

    The successful developer or developer consortium will own up to 40% of the entity, while the Abu Dhabi government will retain the remaining equity.

    The developer will enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with Ewec.

    Once fully operational, Khazna solar PV, along with Noor Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra solar PV and Al Ajban solar PV, will raise Ewec's total installed solar PV capacity to 5.5GW and collectively reduce CO2 emissions by more than 8.2 million metric tonnes a year by 2027. 

    UAE-wide target and capacity

    The UAE published its updated national energy strategy in July last year. It includes a plan to triple the nationwide renewable energy capacity to 19GW by 2030.

    The total installed renewable energy capacity of both Ewec and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) stood at about 5.5GW at the start of 2024.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Dewa seeks firms for landfill gas energy project

    17 April 2024

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) has started the process of selecting a developer or developer consortium to build and operate a landfill gas-to-energy project in Al Qusais, in the eastern part of Dubai near the border with Sharjah.

    It has requested expressions of interest from companies, which it expects to receive by 24 April.

    The planned project will be developed on an independent power producer (IPP) basis and will have an estimated electricity generation capacity of 6MW-12MW. 

    Dewa added that the project's precise capacity will depend on generation efficiency.

    Landfill gas extracted from the Al Qusais landfill site will power the generation plant. The gas extraction network is outside the scope of the package and will fall under the responsibility of another government agency, Dubai Municipality.

    Dewa said a guarantee will be provided on minimum gas quantities and quality.

    Dewa will purchase the power generated by the plant from the successful developer or developer consortium under a long-term power purchase agreement.

    Dewa added: "The developer is expected to share ownership of a project company, to be incorporated in accordance with Dubai and UAE laws, with Dubai Green Fund, the first specialised green investment fund in [the Middle East and North Africa], launched under the funding pillar of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050."

    In February, Dewa and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) reached financial close on the 1,800MW sixth phase of the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

    The solar photovoltaic IPP project is expected to cost up to AED5.51bn ($1.5bn).

    The state utility does not intend to procure additional natural gas-fired capacity in the future.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • An audience with Diriyah: The $63bn gigaproject opportunity

    16 April 2024

    Register now

    Hear first-hand from Diriyah Company about one of the world's most iconic projects and how your company can participate in its existing and future procurement opportunities.

    This exclusive event will provide a detailed outlook into Diriyah’s development plans and the transformation of ‘The City of Earth’ under the Saudi 2030 Vision.

    Gain key insights into available future procurement opportunities, how to work with Diriyah Company on its extensive project pipeline, and how to register and prequalify to participate in it.


    1. The Saudi Arabia projects market in context – size, key projects, trends and future outlook

    2. A detailed overview of the Diriyah gigaproject, its masterplan, progress and the more than $10.5bn-worth of construction work awarded to date

    3. Key details of the $50bn+ projects pipeline including specific procurement opportunities, future materials and equipment demand, and how companies can register and help deliver the iconic giga development

    4. An in-depth discussion with Diriyah Company on its requirements, vendor registration and procurement processes, and contracting frameworks

    5. A live Q&A session where you will have the opportunity to ask questions directly to Diriyah Company

    Time: Monday 22 April at 02:00 PM GST

    Hosted by: Edward James, head of content and analysis at MEED

    A well-known and respected thought leader in Mena affairs, Edward James has been with MEED for more than 19 years, working as a researcher, consultant and content director. Today he heads up all content and research produced by the MEED group. His specific areas of expertise are construction, hydrocarbons, power and water, and the petrochemical market. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the Mena projects market.


    Andrew Tonner, chief delivery officer, Diriyah Company

    Andrew Tonner is the chief delivery officer at Diriyah Company, with 35+ years of property development and construction experience.   One of the first arrivals to the Diriyah Project in 2019, Andrew is now into his second spell with the company. He is currently responsible for construction delivery across 4 masterplans with a combined value of c $62 bn covering 75 km2. See more

    Mohamed Thabet, commercial executive director, design and development, Diriyah Company

    Mohamed Thabet serves as the executive director of DevCo's commercial team. With a background in architecture and advanced studies in construction law, Mohamed brings a wealth of experience in managing complex construction contracts. His career spans roles in engineering, management firms and development, providing him with a comprehensive understanding of the construction industry supply chain. See more

    Click here to register
    MEED Editorial