'Green Silk Road' a major step on clean energy journey

By Wang Yuke | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-25 08:49
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Wang Jinwei, a manager for China Machinery Engineering Corp, demonstrates a photovoltaic solar panel. ZHU WEIJIE/CHINA DAILY

Time for change

There is a real need for change, according to Abdulaziz Alobaidli, chief operating officer of Masdar, the UAE's flagship renewable energy company and a major developer of the Al Dhafra solar power project.

The country has benefited from the underlying "wisdom of its leadership", which has been dynamic in thinking about the future, Alobaidli said.

"We need to diversify our economy and energy resources to improve our energy security," he added, noting that relying on a single energy source would be a risky strategy.

For Alobaidli, decarbonization is a necessity rather than a luxury or privilege. "We're committed to decarbonizing the value chain of all processes relating to energy, upstream and downstream," he said.

He added that as climate change is a global issue, the UAE feels compelled to share its knowledge and solutions to support collective efforts to reach net zero by 2050. This is a tenet of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Wang Jinwei, general manager of the Abu Dhabi branch of China Machinery Engineering Corp, said that while fossil fuels are a carbon-intensive resource for electricity, they are subject to market fluctuations and cannot promise a secure supply of power.

So, the "Clean Energy Strategic Target 2035" campaign, launched by the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, aims to see 60 percent of the region's electricity generated by clean, renewable sources by 2035.

It is the first legally binding clean and renewable energy target in the Middle East, and integral to Abu Dhabi's energy transition process.

Determined to do its part for the "Green Silk Road", CMEC, headquartered in Beijing, secured the $1 billion engineering, procurement and construction contract to build the Al Dhafra solar photovoltaic project.

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