Host Taryam Al Subaihi – Corporate Communications Executive Director – chats with two EWEC industry experts about the impact of Clean Energy Certificates (CECs). He is joined on the podcast by Francois Brice, Commercial Executive Director, and Jasem Mohamed Othman, Commercial Operations and Relationship Manager.

The Current by EWEC: Clean Energy Certificates
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Taryam 0:01
Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah. Hello, and welcome to the second episode of the current quarterly podcast brought to you by EWEC, the Emirates water and electricity company. EWEC is a leading company in the integrated coordination of planning, purchasing and supplying of Water and Power across the UAE, dedicated to increasing the proportion of clean electricity and reducing the region's carbon footprint. I'm Taryam Al Subaihi, Corporate Communications Executive Director at EWEC, and today we're going to be talking about Clean Energy Certificates and the how they are playing a vital role in enabling Abu Dhabi's entities to go green. Joining me to help with that are my colleagues at the rate Commercial Executive Director Francois Brice, and Jasem Mohamed Othman, Commercial Operations and Relationship Manager on the clean energy certificate scheme in Abu Dhabi. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. And thank you for joining us.

Francois 0:58
Hi, Taryam. Nice being with you today.

Jasem 1:01
Thanks, Taryam. Thanks for having us.

Taryam 1:03
Our pleasure to have you. Just before we begin, I do want to share a few of our achievements at EWEC for this quarter because it's not just our CEC's that have been making the contribution to Abu Dhabi. I will start off with our work with the environment and with the education sector. So Sandooq Al Watan, the national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects for the post post-oil era launched a centrum price challenge named ReThink Brine, to find ways to reduce the quantities that the brine discharge produced by this desalination plant processes. EWEC has now successfully delivered 1,200 liters of brine discharge to five participating teams in support of the round three of the Sandooq Al Watan ReThink Brine challenge. The challenge works with local university teams and is sponsored by the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi EAED, and Aldar properties in partnership with EWEC. The competition seeks to protect the Arabian Gulf ecosystem and marine life enabling an eco friendly construction in the real estate sector. It addresses the UAE water scarcity challenges and supports the UAE water security strategy 2036.

And for those of you who are not familiar with that strategy, the Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to ensure sustainable access to water during both normal and emergency conditions. This is of course in line with local regulations, but it also meets the standards of the World Health Organization. And here at EWEC we're working together to play a substantial part in the UAE's vision to achieve prosperity and sustainability. The target is to reduce total demand for water resources by 21%, increase the water productivity, reduce the water scarcity index by three degrees, increase the reuse of treated water to 95% and increase national water storage capacity up to two days.

This year, EWEC also issued the request for proposals RFP to develop the new Shuweihat S4 reverse osmosis independent water project. This project will desalinate sea water using reverse osmosis which is a low-carbon intensity technology to supply up to 308,225 cubic meters per day, or 70 million imperial gallons if you prefer, of potable water. Once again, this is something that will improve the security of water supply in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.

And in line with wider strategic initiative of decoupling Abu Dhabi's power and water generation capacity, the plan will also play a key role in ongoing cost reduction initiatives by using competitive and efficient reverse osmosis water desalination technology. We announced the major initiative with the Emirates Global Aluminium TAQA and Dubai holding to increase the solar power generation capacity and this will help to advance TAQA and Dubai holdings growth strategies and see Emirates Global Aluminium become a leader in the global aluminium industries drive towards net zero by 2050. It'll help to decarbonize EGA's aluminium production in the UAE, while at the same time support us development of renewable energy initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy sector as a whole.

In the solar sphere, EWEC has invited developers to submit an expression of interest for the development of a new Solar Photovoltaic Independent Power Project in the Ajban area of Abu Dhabi. Following Noor Abu Dhabi and Al Dhafra Solar PV, Al Ajban Solar PV is the third world leading large scale utilities solar PV project developed by EWEC. With power generation capacity of 1500 MegaWatt AC, it's important to the energy transition and sustainability strategy of Abu Dhabi, and will play a pivotal role in achieving the sustainability and energy diversification of the objectives of the UAE energy strategy 2050 and the UAE net zero by 2050. The plant will generate enough electricity for around 160,000 homes across the UAE and once commercially operational, it is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tons per year.

EWEC has received proposals from Acciona, ACWA Power, Engie and GS Inima for the development of its new Mirfa2 Reverse Osmosis Independent Water Project. EWEC had received more than 41 expressions of interest from potential bidders but narrowed it down. Production of desalinated water using low-carbon intensive reverse osmosis technology from the Taweelah RO facility has reached 50% capacity. Taweelah RO was connected to the Abu Dhabi network in last December 2021, and is now providing 100 million gallons per day of desalinated water, it will eventually reach 200 million gallons per day, making it's the world's largest RO facility.

Water production from low carbon intensity technologies such as this is a key strategic pillar for the long-term decarbonisation of the energy sector. It has been a hugely positive and productive first half of the year for EWEC and for the energy sector as a whole. Everyone at EWEC can be proud of the huge contributions that we are making and the positive effect that we are having on the environment.

Francois and Jasem, back over to you now, perhaps we you could tell us and tell our listeners a little bit about your roles at EWEC. Francois, perhaps we could start with you.

Francois 7:02
Of course. So my name is Francois Brice. I am the Executive Director for the commercial activities in EWEC. Our role is to negotiate and setup all the large commercial contracts for EWEC, in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, and in the wider GCC. And we focus on large, bilateral, commercial relationships and trades. And we also develop trading activities for which my colleague Jasem is a key player in the team. Jasem?

Jasem 7:35
Thank you, Francois. Hi, everyone. My name is Jasem Mohamed, and I am working jointly with Francois and the commercial department, where I am managing the commercial relationships with EWEC main counterparts, including the both energy trading and clean energy certificates.

Taryam 7:52
Thank you, gentlemen. Let's jump right into it, then. Francois, the Clean Energy Certificates or CEC's for short, have been a real game changer for the Abu Dhabi energy sector so far, and I'm expecting so much more. So for those who are out there, and our listeners who are not familiar with the initiative, could you explain a little bit more about it.

Francois 8:15
So clean energy certificates, or CEC's in short, are certificate of origins, which certify that a buyer is buying energy from a clean source, and we have partnerships with a company called IREC. And they have a protocol that ensure the customers that the energy is 100% coming from a non-carbon associated source. As far as Abu Dhabi is concerned, we have two kinds of CEC's, some comes from the solar energy and some comes from the nuclear energy. And the customers or the the industrial or commercial players, they can they can buy them from us and when they buy them, they can ensure that the electricity they buy from the grid is actually not containing any, any carbon. So it's it's a very robust, simple and internationally-recognized way for players to to meet their, their renewable and sustainability goals, and do partnership with us. So it's a very efficient way to to go towards sustainability.

Taryam 9:30
Thank you Francois. Such, as we said, a game changer. Something that's going to in an easy way, bring a big change to to our sector in terms of the environment. Jasem, I'll bring you in here because now it's been nearly one year since the launch of the initiative. What is the reaction been?

Jasem 9:55
Well, the interest since we launched has been really positive. And speaking about the reaction, surprisingly we had a good number of participants. And it was not only from one kind of like a sector, it was from different sectors like the industry, energy, healthcare, commercial, retail, and as well from the events sectors. Since we had launched this CEC scheme, we have signed strategic energy partnerships. So with Adnoc, we have signed the strategic partnership which which will cover their current consumption and the future consumption with the clean energy. And those clean energy will be both from the solar sources and nuclear sources. This is actually a landmark partnership. It is largest of its kind in the entire oil and gas industry. Another example of CEC partnerships was with Aldar, the largest real estate development company in Abu Dhabi. So this agreement will power 100% of Aldar operating assets for up to five years from EWEC clean energy sources. And as well recently, we have signed an agreement with Mediclinic. This agreement will power 100% of their Abu Dhabi electricity consumption, supporting the hospital group's efforts to adopt clean energy and to further expand the decarbonisation in the healthcare sector.

Taryam 11:30
It's so great to see so much interest from such major players across so many industries. You know, this is truly a testament of the commitment of the Abu Dhabi companies to sustainability. And it's, it's proud, I'm very proud to see that. Francois, the demand for clean energy certificates has grown and companies are aiming to meet their sustainability goals as we discussed. EWEC recently conducted its fourth auction for the clean energy certificates in Abu Dhabi, could you tell us a little bit about or explain these auctions and what they involve?

Francois 12:10
In a word, it's designed to be simple. All the participants can join, just look to our website, and there will be a link. The auctions are run quarterly. And they just need to fill up a form and which is a one or two page long only. And then they can they can participate. There are two types of certificates. You can if you want to buy some you can purchase some some CEC's which are related to solar generation, or some which are related to the nuclear generation. The way the auction works is also very simple. A participant can put a price on what he thinks he would like to pay for those certificates. And two weeks later, we will run a pay-as-bid system meaning that the highest bidder are served first. And then we go by descending order of proposal. And so the full process is run over a period of around three weeks. And we repeat that every quarter. Currently, there's a reserve price, which is fairly small. And so, for those who are early players, it's a good time to start participating because we see the demand increasing, but we're still at the beginning of the market. So it's a good time to to get the best prices in the market. So please participate!

Taryam 13:43
You heard the man sign up and be part of this really outstanding initiative. Jasem, so talking about this, you know, further down the line, how do you see this project improving the environment and people's approach towards sustainability?

Jasem 14:10
Well, what I believe it will cater to a growing appetite among businesses and the consumers to contribute to the fight against climate change. The scheme provides an accreditation system based on a national recognized standard called IREC standard. And EWEC is playing a key role enabling the cleaner energy certificate scheme in Abu Dhabi.

Taryam 14:38
Francois, you and your team have been involved not only in CECs, but all EWEC's major initiatives and strategies. So perhaps you could give the listeners a better understanding of EWEC's overall clean energy goals and tell us a little bit about how we at EWEC are supporting the UAE's Energy Strategy 2050.

Francois 15:02
This is actually a fascinating part of what we're doing. And I think remarkable achievements that EWEC is performing currently, if you look at the carbon emission we had in 2020, and where we want to position our company in 2025, I think is probably an unheard of, to have a company which will cut its emission by 50% in this period. We were in a company with around 14 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2020. And we are on the way to cut that by half in the period of five years. So I think it's exciting to be part of that team. There are a number of driver for that. So, listener will probably spot two main reasons for that, is the introduction of the large nuclear power stations. Also the very ambitions we have to build a lot of solar PV plants. You can see regularly in the media, we are launching regularly some some tenders for this new photovoltaics, solar plants. There is another reason why we cutting our emissions is that we also are water provider, and we are completely changing the way we desalinate and the carbon impact on the way we desalinate will also drastically reduce over that period. So, very exciting moment, to live in a career. And, and a great opportunity for us to participate to the targets of the Country of the Net Zero by 2050.

Taryam 16:57
I couldn't agree more. It is a privilege to be part of a company that is contributing, you know, to the UAE's vision that is leading the way globally, in this transformation and in his contributions towards the environment and climate change. The figures you mentioned are incredible. It will have a massive impact not just on the UAE's Energy Strategy 2050 but part of the overall global fight against climate change, and the work on a global stage. As well as the UAE's Net Zero target plans as well. Jasem moving forward and looking to the future, what plans are there for the CEC scheme.

Jasem 17:47
So actually moving forward, EWEC has really large ambitions to build more solar generation. And this will have more opportunities in the market, and it will help to accommodate more participants for the CEC's.

Taryam 18:02
Francois, Jasem, thank you again for joining us today and giving so much insight into the CEC projects and the overall projects at EWEC. And for sharing with us the progress that is to come. Thank you to you and the EWEC team as a whole for for their outstanding work in 2022.

Francois 18:27
It was a pleasure. Thank you, Taryam.

Taryam 18:30
Thank you. And thank you, of course to all our listeners for for joining us in this episode. To keep up with our news and insights, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast through your preferred platform. Our next podcast will be released in September and I hope you can all join us again to hear more about EWEC and our progress in 2022. I'm Taryam Al Subaihi, the Corporate Communications Executive Director at EWEC. It has been my pleasure. Thank you for taking part in our journey.

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