RE-mapping the UAE's energy transition: An economy-wide assessment of renewable energy options and their policy implications

Sgouris Sgouridis, Ayu Abdullah, Steve Griffiths, Deger Saygin, Nicholas Wagner, Dolf Gielen, Hannes Reinisch, Dane McQueen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We conduct a comprehensive mapping and cost analysis of the renewable energy (RE) technology options available to the United Arab Emirate's (UAE) energy system. Based on projected demand and the true (unsubsidized) costs of fossil fuel supply, the substitution cost of each option and its respective potential is estimated. We demonstrate that a significant acceleration of the existing RE plans can be achieved with positive economic benefits for a number of options - before accounting for health and environmental benefits, or new opportunities for hydrocarbon exports - and that the full portfolio can be completed at a cost that is less than 1 US Dollar (USD) per gigajoule (GJ) when accounting for the avoided subsidies by 2030. Growing opportunity cost of gas, falling solar prices and abundant solar resources are the biggest drivers behind these results. Cumulatively implementation of these options results in RE contributing to 10% of UAE's total final energy consumption in 2030. This achievement, seen in the context of the global effort to increase renewable energy penetration, is relatively limited, but the rates of increase in RE deployment are actually among the highest internationally given the low starting point and the unavailability of traditional RE sources (biomass and hydro) in the UAE. Moreover, they herald the implications of RE's rapid shift to cost-competitiveness in a country like the UAE.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1166-1180
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Mar 2016


  • Energy transition
  • Renewable energy
  • Techno-economic assessment
  • United Arab Emirates


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