The Greening of Dubai

When you think about Dubai, the term ‘green’ probably doesn’t come to mind. But with Dubai’s changing policies and new investments into renewables, ‘green’ is becoming part of Dubai’s legacy. The city is taking significant steps towards becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the world. Just over a decade ago, Dubai was a city with one of the largest ecological impacts worldwide. For a city that also used to rely primarily on oil revenues, the transition to green sustainability is more than impressive.

$27 billion is being raised through the new Green Fund which will go towards green energy projects. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is under development and will save 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually upon completion. The solar park will also provide power for Dubai’s World Expo 2020. Other projects for green energy and energy storage are ongoing.

In another green initiative, Dubai is actively taking steps to reduce demand for electricity and water. The past 7 years have seen savings that have offset over 830,5000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Across Dubai, businesses are installing solar panels on rooftops, Smart Meters and Grids are increasing efficiency, and the number of electric car charging stations will double in 2018. Their ambitious target is to reduce energy consumption in the city by 30% by 2030—while increasing the production of renewable energy. And all this is happening within Dubai’s rapid growth and expansion.

Although Dubai is known for luxurious excess, they are taking quite a different approach when it comes to environmental measures. Every sector in Dubai, from commercial to educational establishments has cut their energy usage since 2009. The city is growing, but their impact on the environment is not. And they continue to promote conservation and sustainability, with increased targets.

Dubai has taken a very forward-thinking approach to renewable energy. They have been early adopters in reducing reliance on oil revenues while ensuring that appropriate strategies are in place to care for the environment. The public and private sector are working together in a variety of ways to protect the environment and promote sustainable practices. The collaboration around Expo 2020 is an excellent example of these practices in action.

Transportation is also turning green in Dubai. After the successful pilot for hybrid taxis in 2008, they are now converting at least half of all taxis to hybrid vehicles. Public buses are being added to the fleet that are low emissions, and both electric and compressed-natural-gas-powered buses are possible future inclusions. For electric vehicle owners, free parking, exemption from fees, and free charging stations are all encouraging residents to switch to green vehicles.

We can’t forget the literal greening of Dubai as green spaces expand across the city. The Sustainable City within Dubai is a 46-acre net zero development with 10,000 trees—no small feat in the desert. The City also includes a green farm with 11 bio domes and two lakes of recycled water to irrigate this very green development.

Dubai’s ambitious goal of becoming one of the world’s most sustainable cities is moving closer to reality. And when they prove that a city in the middle of the desert can become sustainable, no city in the world will have an excuse to not follow suit.