In 2013, it was revealed that every UAE resident consumes 8,271 kilograms of oil equivalent energy (kgoe) per annum. To put this in perspective, the per capita energy consumption in the United Kingdom and the United States was 3,254 kgoe and 7,164 kgoe respectively.
Even though oil-producing countries tend to have higher consumption levels anyway, these statistics still highlight the need for the UAE to become more eco-friendly when it comes to using natural resources.
Thankfully, there are targets in place to protect the country's resources and reduce fossil fuel usage. But with the growth of Dubai continues, will these initiatives be enough? Should the UAE be looking at bigger and better sustainable sources of energy for future generations to come?
The UAE's energy consumption in comparison to the rest of the world
Two years ago, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies released a report stating that global energy use would grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. On top of that, fossil fuel would continue to supply nearly 80 percent of world energy use through 2040.
Up until now, the UAE and neighbouring countries have been the biggest culprits of escalating growth. Data from the International Energy Agency reveals that from 1990 to 2008, regional energy use in the Middle East increased by 170 per cent.
This is the highest of any global region and much more than the average of 39 percent. But in response to figures like these, the UAE has responded appropriately.
Energy consumption targets and fossil fuel reductions
With demand growing all the time, Suhail Al Mazroui, UAE Minister of Energy, said in 2013 that the country needed to diversify its gas import options as well as closely monitor domestic consumption of oil.
“In order to protect our fossil fuel resources, we need to ensure that we are as efficient as possible in what we consume,” he revealed. “We have seen important steps in this direction, especially here in Dubai with a target of 30 percent demand reduction by 2030.”
This is obviously a step in the right direction, but it still remains difficult to predict just how big cities like Dubai could yet become. If they continue on the same growth path as the previous 20 years, more flexible and sustainable power generation solutions will be required.
Answering the UAE's eco-friendly energy requirements
In order to meet possible power requirements with sustainability in mind, the UAE can look at successful examples elsewhere. At this year's Mardi Gras celebrations in San Diego, power generation company Aggreko supplied the event with an alternative fuel supply in the form of cooking oil.
Huey Bourque, Director of Aggreko's Environmental Health and Safety Department, said: “At Aggreko, it is our goal to minimise the impact on the environment through careful equipment design, from minimising spills to implementing the latest emission-control technology.”
Together with its temperature control solutions, which provide oil-free air conditioning to industrial spaces or construction sites, the UAE could hugely benefit from the services of a company like Aggreko.
So, even if UAE residents are consuming a lot of energy, which has come from fossil fuels and natural resources, there are ongoing initiatives and existing examples to help cities like Dubai become greener and more sustainable.
Images by Aggreko