by Isaiah Boone
In a post from January 20th, 2016 Albawaba Business released an article detailing the recent strategic partnership agreement between one of the largest energy companies and one of the largest waste-management companies in the middle east. The agreement is a part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government’s Vision 2021, a large initiative by the UAE to improve various economic and social aspects of the country. [http://www.vision2021.ae/en] An important component of the initiative is a commitment towards sustainable energy and waste practices, and thus the implications of this agreement are closely tied to how successful the Vision 2021 plan will become. [http://www.vision2021.ae/en/national-priority-areas/sustainable-environment-and-infrastructure]
The two companies that came together for the agreement are Masdar and Bee’ah. One of Abu Dhabi’s largest renewable energy companies, Masdar was made into its own subsidiary in 2006 as part of The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. [https://www.abudhabi.ae/portal/public/en/abu_dhabi_emirate/government/news/news_detail?docName=ADEGP_DF_124048_EN&_adf.ctrl-state=x7vcp9xdr_4&_afrLoop=19700506360481174#!] Since its establishment, Masdar has committed more than $1.7 billion towards infrastructure and resources for clean renewable energy and has a specific business unit that focuses on supplying renewable energy to the UAE. [http://www.masdar.ae/] On the other side of the partnership is Bee’ah, a multi-purpose environmental company founded in 2007 in Sharjah. Bee’ah diverts close to 70% of the 2.3 million tonnes of waste it retrieves each year from approximately 1 million households. Diverting waste consists of recycling, composting or repurposing waste so that it is not disposed of in landfills or other areas. [http://www.cvusdrecycles.org/diversion-rate/] The end goal of this partnership is part of the UAE Government’s Vision 2021 (mentioned earlier), which was an initiative put forth in 2010 by the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make the UAE a stronger and more established nation. One aspect of this initiative/plan, the sustainable environment and infrastructure component, seeks to improve the process of diverting waste and make directing it into energy more efficient and practical. Vision 2021 aims to increase the percentage of treated waste from 14%, its level in 2014, to 75% by 2021 among many other goals that were set forth. The agreement will attempt to achieve these improvements not only through new innovative methods of waste-to-energy conversion, but also through the construction of two new waste-to-energy plants that Bee’ah and Masdar are expected to help facilitate.
The CEO of Masdar, Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, highlighted that people usually place a lot of emphasis upon water-energy-food strategies, but fail to address the problem of waste and its potential use when examining energy usage and creation. With the increased urbanisation and consumerism in the region it will only become more critical that the UAE put resources towards finding innovative ways to transform waste into useful, manageable energy. The initiative and new agreement demonstrate that a number of countries are making progress towards this task and it’ll be interesting to stay up-to-date on whether or not they accomplish the goals set forth in Vision 2021.
UAE Vision 2021
UAE Vision 2021