DUBAI, (Pakistan Point News - 29th Oct, 2023) The circular economy model that meshes economic gains with a sustainability ethos is the buzzword for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) even as it keeps pace with burgeoning demand for new infrastructure and services. At the heart of the utility major’s growth strategy is a vision to transform into a globally leading sustainable innovative corporation committed to achieving Net Zero by 2050.
Illustrating DEWA’s focus on sustainability, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said, “In accordance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, DEWA is committed to achieving the highest levels of sustainability across its operations while meeting development goals.
“DEWA places a high priority on supporting the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100% of the energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. We are proud of DEWA’s contribution to reducing net carbon dioxide emissions in the Emirate of Dubai by 19% in 2022 compared to 2010. This mitigation also supports objectives of the Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.”
Al Tayer added, “DEWA’s strategy for the circular economy constitutes a comprehensive framework for determining its directions towards expanding the scope of current applications and adopting the best international practices in supporting the circular economy.”
There have been numerous initiatives DEWA has been implementing over the years in this shift to a greener style of operation. Greater efficiencies of grids and generation units, significant emissions reductions and recycling efforts are all part of an elaborate plan to slash the carbon footprint significantly.
DEWA has made a significant achievement in improving electricity and water production efficiency by 37.78% in 2022 compared to 2006. This is equivalent to a cumulative reduction of 82 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
DEWA’s Circular Economy Strategy seeks to optimise the use of resources while enriching social, economic, and environmental value, thus promoting sustainability. The strategy is based on five cardinal principles, namely Circular Design and Use of Circular Materials; Optimised Asset Management; Value Retention and End-of-Life Treatment; Renewable Energy, Energy and Water Efficiency; and Circular Partnerships. The strategy highlights DEWA’s value chain, including smart users, circular procurement, and supplier engagement.
It is the Year of Sustainability in the UAE and amid intense preparations to host the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) at Expo City Dubai later this year, DEWA is intensifying its efforts to promote the adoption of the circular economy model and its applications across its various divisions, while simultaneously encouraging community participation in ensuring the sustainability of development plans.
DEWA is always looking to enhance employee engagement in sustainability initiatives through international events and gatherings it organises year-long, encouraging them to actively contribute to sustainable development. These events include the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show (DSS).
DEWA is organising the 25th WETEX and DSS from 15 to 17 November 2023. The exhibition is a standout event in the global sustainability Calendar, being the largest of its kind in the region and one of the largest specialised exhibitions anywhere in the world.
There are several other ways in which DEWA promotes sustainability practices within its offices and operations. It is among the first organisations in Dubai to spearhead the concept of green buildings.
In 2019, DEWA notched a first with getting for Dubai the platinum rating by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) for Cities, from the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC), becoming the first city in the middle East and North Africa to be awarded this prestigious certificate. DEWA currently boasts several green buildings that have earned LEED ratings, including the Sustainable Building in Al Quoz, the largest government building in the world to receive USGBC’s Platinum Rating for green buildings.
In addition, DEWA inaugurated the green data centre of DEWA’s Data Hub Integrated Solutions LLC (Moro Hub) at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. It is recognised as the world’s largest solar-powered data centre by the Guinness World Records.
DEWA works in consonance with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 and its efforts have contributed to reducing carbon emissions in Dubai by 19% in 2022, when compared to 2010. DEWA is a committed partner in Dubai's ambitious plan to achieve carbon neutrality in the next 30 years, boosting efforts to achieve the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030.
DEWA is fully tuned in to the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan through a whole host of global projects, programmes and competitions that contribute to accelerating the shift towards zero-energy buildings and establishing a sustainable energy-saving model.
DEWA is also partnering with the Emirates Green Building Council and various government and private entities, thus underscoring its pivotal role in supporting Dubai’s mission to reduce carbon emissions.
Energy efficiency focus
The efficient, effective and economical management of energy used internally has also been another focus of DEWA’s sustainability blueprint and it constantly bids to improve energy efficiency within its premises. Towards this goal, it has implemented a number of energy efficiency initiatives and projects, including retrofitting of office buildings, transmission substations, pumping stations, reservoirs and power generation plants. The retrofitting exercise included the installation of sensors to facilitate illumination control, and the incorporation of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) water plants for landscape irrigation, among others. In addition, DEWA has also installed photovoltaic panels on rooftops of buildings and carports at various office premises.
The implemented projects of this nature have achieved cumulative power and water savings of about 52 gigawatt-hours (GWh) and 2.5 million imperial gallons (MIG), respectively through 2022. These figures are equivalent to AED22.76 million in savings and carbon dioxide mitigation of 20,899 tonnes.
Starting in March 2020, DEWA has transformed all its customer happiness centres into self-service centres. In March 2021, DEWA received the 100% Paperless Stamp from Smart Dubai, in recognition of its success in achieving a full digital transformation of all operations and services. DEWA also provides green charger stations for electric vehicles in the parking areas of its buildings and has deployed electric and hybrid vehicles in its fleet.
Smart recycling machine initiative
At an organisational level, DEWA has been keenly identifying new ways in which this sustainable outlook could permeate ever deeper into the collective consciousness of its employees. The introduction of smart recycling machines at its offices has been one such move.
The machines help employees dispose of plastic bottles and aluminium cans while also claiming incentives for reiterating their environmental responsibility. Employees gain points for each recycling operation using the smart machines and stand to win valuable monthly prizes in a raffle draw. Regular webinars and awareness sessions to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and reducing waste are also part of the cultural shift.
Since the smart recycling machines were installed in October 2022 and until the end of the first half of 2023, some 299,992 plastic bottles and aluminium cans were recycled by DEWA’s employees, with the recycled materials weaving their way into T-shirts and other items courtesy of a local company deploying sustainable manufacturing solutions. The smart recycling machines are operated using DEWA’s Smart Office app for employees with the device reading the QR code on the smart app to record individual contributions.
The initiative at DEWA also aligns with the Dubai Integrated Waste Management Strategy 2021-2041, which seeks to encourage innovation in waste management and recycling, including the conversion of waste to energy, in addition to providing practical solutions to environmental challenges.
DEWA also finds other ways to make a difference to the planet. In cooperation with the Emirates Marine Environmental Group, it organised a campaign to clean the beaches of the Jebel Ali Marine Reserve to mark World Environment Day 2023. Several employees and their families joined in, as also employees of DEWA’s subsidiaries. DEWA also organised a campaign to plant 5,500 mangrove saplings in the Jebel Ali Marine Reserve, in collaboration with Emirates Marine Environmental Group, to commemorate World Water Day 2023.
About 350 DEWA employees and their families, and employees of some of DEWA’s subsidiaries, such as Digital X, Moro Hub (Data Hub Integrated Solutions LLC), and Mai Dubai, took part in the campaign.
To mark World Energy Day, which is observed on 22 October each year, DEWA launched a campaign under the theme ‘World Energy Day: Your Path Towards COP28’. As part of the campaign, DEWA organised a series of virtual lectures in Arabic and English for several public and private schools.
The lectures, which were attended by 11,238 students, highlighted DEWA’s sustainable projects.
DEWA has received awards aplenty locally and internationally in recognition of its tireless efforts to preserve the environment and natural resources.
DEWA received the Supreme Achievement Award 2022 from the British Safety Council, which is considered the most prestigious award worldwide in the context of health, safety, and the environment. The honour lent added gloss to DEWA’s consistent showing on the sustainability and health and safety parameters, winning the Globe of Honour for Environment an 11th time and the Sword of Honour for Health and Safety for the 15th time.