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DEWA's experience in smart grids

Waleed Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) highlighted DEWA’s strategy in developing smart grids and connecting solar systems in buildings to the power grid, during a workshop at the 24th World Energy Congress (WEC) in Abu Dhabi. The workshop was organised by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

“In line with the directives of the wise leadership, we work to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and manage all facilities and services through smart and connected systems that use technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution including artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), energy storage, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) among others. This supports DEWA’s vision to become a globally leading sustainable innovative corporation. The Smart Grid is a key component of DEWA’s strategy to develop an advanced infrastructure for Smart Dubai’s initiative to transform Dubai into the smartest and happiest city in the world. The Smart Grid includes programmes with investments of up to AED 7 billion that will be completed in the short, medium, and long-term until 2035,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, commenting on DEWA’s role in providing an advanced infrastructure in Dubai.

Al Tayer noted that DEWA has achieved several world records. The UAE, represented by DEWA, came first for the second consecutive year in getting electricity, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report. DEWA also achieved the lowest customer minutes lost per year (CML) in the world of 2.39 CML. DEWA has reduced losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks to 3.3%. Water network losses have been reduced to 6.5%.

Bin Salman gave a presentation at the workshop, which supports the UAE-Germany Energy Partnership. Speakers from the GCC countries and the European Union took part in the workshop. He highlighted DEWA’s Smart Grid Strategy, which contains 10 programmes. These are: Advanced Metering Infrastructure for Electricity, Advanced Metering Infrastructure for Water, Asset Management, Distribution Automation, Information Technology Infrastructure, Transmission Automation, System Integration, Telecommunications, Big Data and Analytics, and Security.

Salman noted that the Shams Dubai initiative, which DEWA has launched, as part of its efforts to support the Smart Dubai initiative, enables customers to install photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to generate clean energy and connect the systems to the power grid. The electricity is used on-site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network. An offset between exported and imported electricity units is conducted and the customer account is settled based on this offset. To regulate this electricity, the Dubai Executive Council issued resolution number 46 for 2014 to put in place a comprehensive framework at a legislative level to connect electricity from solar power to the grid. Shams Dubai has achieved remarkable success with 1338 solar systems connected to the electricity grid so far, with a total capacity of 106MW.

Bin Salman reiterated DEWA’s cooperation with a number of leading international universities and research centres in renewable energy, smart networks, energy efficiency and storage, and data analysis among others. He noted that DEWA’s R&D Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park highlights four major operational areas: electricity generation from solar energy, integration of smart grids, energy efficiency, and water. The R&D Centre’s projects and programmes include internal labs to study and test system reliability, and external field testing of new technologies and equipment, including performance, reliability of solar photovoltaic panels and removal of dust. The Centre cooperates with many entities, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy, the Spanish National Renewable Energy Centre, as well as the United Arab Emirates University and Khalifa University on joint research and studies in renewable and alternative energy.


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