Thu 12-09-2019 13:01 PM
By Hatem Hussein
ABU DHABI, 12th September, 2019 (WAM) -- Energy providers need to adapt to a new decarbonised and digital world to successfully meet the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said Dr. Michael Webber, Chief Science and Technology Officer of French energy group ENGIE.
"ENGIE operates in almost 70 countries on 5 continents; so we have a global view. We sell gas, electricity and energy services, and believe that the world must decarbonise," Webber told Emirates News Agency, WAM.
"We are rethinking the energy sector ... we have set decarbonisation as a priority; not only for the company but also for the customers.
"ENGIE has made the decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation of energy systems as the basis for its commitment to overcome the challenges posed by the energy transition.
"We are determined to find the needed technologies and solutions to ensure that we can get to our priorities," he added.
ENGIE is a major player in highly efficient cooling networks, that are typically 50 percent more energy efficient than individual cooling solutions and generate 50 percent less CO2.
Through the partnership with Mubadala Investment, Tabreed is set become one of ENGIE’s main regional development platform, besides existing operations in Western Europe and North America. ENGIE expects to lead a rapid growth, through Tabreed, in new emerging markets like India, Egypt and Turkey.
Talking about the challenges faced for energy transition, Webber said the "biggest challenge" is gas.
"The biggest challenge for energy transition is really around gas. You can decarbonise electricity, you can go for solar or wind or nuclear power and decarbonise the power sector, but decarbonising gas is more difficult," he said.
"For example, gas is used for heating ... this may not happen here in Abu Dhabi but in Paris and other European cities it does. So, more efforts are needed to get low-carbon gas and we have to figure out a solution. The gas question is much harder."
Asked what kind of investment is needed to get over energy transition challenges, Webber said research is a priority. "At ENGIE, we have come up with 900 research regarding this. However, we need to do more and become more innovative and patient."
"We also need more investment in infrastructure; investments in new types of power plants. Governments may encourage long-term infrastructure by setting the standards and setting goals for what kind of infrastructure should be built," he emphasised.
He noted that ENGIE now has 20 gigawatts of power plants in the Gulf region. "We are a very important partner in providing electricity and district cooling. We are ready to do more."
On the challenges that the UAE face in this regard, the Webber cited two challenges: heat and humidity.
"UAE has some big challenges: [there is] a lot of heat and humidity, which means a lot of efforts are needed to establish highly efficient cooling networks especially in light of the economic and population growth. That’s how ENGIE has proved to be a reliable partner for the region over the past years," he said.
"We now provide innovative cooling solutions to iconic infrastructure projects in the UAE and across the Gulf. We also have a lot of experience in renewables that we are trying to transfer to the region."
The Middle East's district cooling market value is more than US$7 billion and is expected to reach US$14 billion by 2025, according to a study by Global Market Insights, Inc. published in August.
Image credit : www.webberenergygroup.com