Usage and demand
According to UAE State of Energy Report 2015, residents use about 550 litres of water and 20 to 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day and as the economy grows, the demand for energy is expected to increase by 9 per cent annually. Electricity demand in the UAE had reached 105 billion kilowatt hours in 2013, placing the UAE among the highest electricity consumers per capita in the world. The demand for electric power was matched by an increase in the number of power plants and their installed capacities. The installed capacities of power plants had increased by 54 per cent during 2007-2012.
On 2 March 2011, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed had announced an investment of AED 5.7 billion to the water and electricity sector in the northern areas of the country. He directed the Department of Energy in Abu Dhabi to export electricity and water to Etihad Water and Electricity, who in turn would supply the same to the northern areas of the UAE. Electricity and water exported by Abu Dhabi doubled from 2008 to reach 13.664 gigawatt hours of exports.
Between 2008 and 2012, electricity capacity grew by 37 per cent, with Dubai increasing capacity by 44.5 percent and Abu Dhabi by 43.6 per cent. In 2012, the total installed capacity reached 27,180 megawatts. At present, there are over 27 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity to generate electricity across the seven emirates utilising natural gas, which is the cleanest fossil fuel available. The UAE is looking at increasing its target for generating power from clean energy to 27 per cent by 2021.
National Grid project
Rapid economic and demographic growth over the past decade pushed the UAE's electricity grid to its limits. Installed fossil fuel generating capacity, which accounts for nearly all of the UAE's capacity continues to rise, reaching more than 27 gigawatts (GW) in 2013, according to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority. State-led entities manage the domestic electricity grid in each of the seven emirates, but the UAE is making progress toward integrating the emirates into a more efficient national grid.
The Emirates National Grid project aims to interconnect the following four authorities that are responsible for supplying power throughout the emirates:
One of the main advantages of the ENG project is the financial savings as a result of the reduction in installed reserve capacity on each of the individual utility systems. It also enables the commercial transfer of electricity between the power authorities.
The ENG interconnected system also provides a stronger capacity to withstand major or sudden disturbances, such as the loss of production units and failure of grid elements, whether due to outages or natural catastrophes, as well as several types of crises.
The 'Electricity Market' project is a national project to provide electrical energy efficiently and effectively at more competitive prices in the country. It helps promote the export of electrical energy to Gulf, Arab and regional borders, which will contribute to the added value of the electricity sector in the country’s gross product. Read more about the 'Electricity Market' project (PDF, 253 KB).