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Energising the Middle East electricity market

Cutting edge innovation and operational excellence strategies are powering the Dubai and Sharjah water and electricity authorities.

The initiatives, which read akin to a utility how-to guide, clearly indicate how DEWA and SEWA are applying lessons learned, striving to implement best practice and keeping happy customers at the centre of it all.

This article first appeared in ESI-Africa Edition 1, 2019. You can read the magazine’s articles here or subscribe here to receive a print copy.

In order to meet its strategic objectives the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) – the smart utility partner to the 2019 edition of the Middle East Electricity conference – is focused on essential business elements to achieve operational excellence and provide the best service possible to their customers.

The Authority seeks to implement a Global Model of Sustainability and annually organises a series of events and initiatives to promote sustainable development in the field of energy to reach the best international standards, based on innovation and creativity.

With emphasis on the use of the latest scientific and research developments in the field of energy, SEWA seeks to enhance its efficiency while preserving the environment. The research includes areas of energy and smart networks, energy and water efficiency, and capacity building in these sectors, to meet the requirements of sustainable development in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Staying within the sphere of creativity, the Authority endeavours to train the national cadres to meet the requirements of development in the maintenance and operational processes, in a way that serves the innovation.

An example of this can be seen in SEWA’s cooperation with Spanish-based Tecnalia, to promote sustainability in energy supply, and create a business environment that encourages innovation, a knowledge-based economy through improved efficiency standards and well supported energy initiatives.

SEWA is also working to optimise innovation to become operationally efficient and reduce costs. For his part, Ettor Cortagarina, director of energy at Tecnalia, praised the efforts of the Authority, its reliance on innovative studies and research and its outstanding role in promoting sustainable development in the Emirate, with support for applied research, technological development and intelligent management of electricity consumption.

In another collaborative effort, SEWA is looking as far as Germany to strengthen knowledge exchange. A SEWA delegation visited IDC manufacturer Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall and Stadtwerke Karlsruhe Station, considered one of the most important high voltage stations in Germany.

HE Dr Eng Rashid Al Leem, chairman of SEWA, said that the Authority is working according to a specific vision to develop the skills needed to raise internal standards by exchanging experiences and cooperating with international companies. He stressed that the Authority is keen to provide an attractive working environment, to encourage the creative new generation to develop their skills and implement their innovative ideas at SEWA.

Continuous development of electricity networks and water lines, replacement of old generators and renewing of connections and cables, as well as maintenance work carried out by the Authority, has contributed to better service to customers. This has, in turn, significantly reduced incoming calls to the service centre.

In this context, the Authority continues seeking to develop its operational and technical operations, monitor the power network, provide operational requirements and maintenance works to minimise and prevent breakdowns.

Inspection and execution of maintenance programmes, development and improvement of the electrical networks and dealing with some emergency cases of power outages as soon they happen, are among other components SEWA is addressing. Skills development coupled with a strong safety culture ensures the Authority is equipped to meet its targets.

DEWA idea exchange

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) aims to support local and global efforts to increase renewable and clean energy, as well as anticipate the future energy landscape through exchanging experiences and best practices within the sector. DEWA attends many conferences and events and interacts with international delegations to share their experiences and expertise, highlighting innovative initiatives and efforts to develop disruptive technologies in renewable and clean energy. For example, DEWA recently received a high-level Italian delegation led by Italy’s vice-minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, HE Manlio Di Stefano.

The meeting saw discussions on ways to enhance cooperation, and the contribution of Italian companies to water and energy projects in Dubai and the UAE. It also highlighted aspects of strategic cooperation between DEWA and Italian water and energy companies, to develop business relations and benefit from each other’s experiences.

The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 will ensure that 75% of Dubai’s total power output will be from clean energy sources by 2050. To achieve this, DEWA has launched several green programmes and initiatives, including the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model.

The park will have a production capacity of 5,000MW by 2030 with investments totalling AED 50 billion.

Upon completion, the solar park will reduce over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and provide thousands of jobs in clean energy and green economy.

Another example is the Shams Dubai initiative, encouraging household and building owners to produce their energy using solar photovoltaic panels installed on rooftops and connecting them to DEWA’s grid. The installed capacity of the solar panels has reached about 70MW, with expectations to double the number in the future and cover all buildings in Dubai by 2030.

Another key initiative is the Green Charger initiative, to establish the infrastructure and build electric vehicle charging stations across Dubai. DEWA has installed 200 Green Chargers across Dubai in cooperation with other organisations.

Finally, DEWA’s Smart Grid Station (SGS) was built in partnership with the Korea Electric Power Corporation to link smart buildings for the exchange of information, improve energy and water efficiency, and optimise renewable energy in smart cities.

The SGS uses a variety of smart grid technologies to generate power through renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, and maximise energy efficiency through real-time monitoring and control systems. The SGS also allows for the reduction of loads, especially at peak times; peak shift; and the reduction of water consumption.

The SGS concept is scalable and allows for the development of individual smart buildings, groups of smart buildings and smart areas, which ensures the efficient reduction of electricity and water consumption as well as carbon emissions, thereby becoming a smart city.

The SGS comprises a 200kW photovoltaic solar power production system; a 9kW wind turbine; and a 500kW lithium-ion battery energy storage system, which stores energy for later use. The station also includes over 2,000 sensors based on IoT technology, and smart meters distributed throughout the facility to monitor power and water demand data in real-time for the purpose of improved energy and water management.

DEWA emphasises research and development, which is a fundamental basis for innovation, as well as its recently launched programmes focusing on augmenting renewable energy with smart grids and energy efficiency initiatives.

Based on the strategic priorities and operational focus areas of both SEWA and DEWA, it is clear that these Middle East organisations are aiming for a sustainable future based on utilising latest technologies, innovation, and international best practice. At Middle East Electricity 2019, the exchange of this level of expertise, ideas, and experience between industry stakeholders will further enhance the innovation taking place in the region. ESI

This article first appeared in ESI-Africa Edition 1, 2019. You can read the magazine’s articles here or subscribe here to receive a print copy.


 In 2019, Middle East Electricity is focusing on the breakthroughs in the generation, distribution, storage and use of power to meet domestic needs and international requirements. The conference and exhibition is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, 5-7 March 2019. Share your experiences and photos from the show with us on social media using @ESIAfrica and #MEE2019 www.middleeastelectricity.com