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Benchmarking, real efficiency analysis can address Dubai’s energy challenges

Cooling is the number one energy consumer in the city, Araner says

| | Jul 18, 2018 | 5:29 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 18 July 2018: Oil rich countries are grappling with dwindling revenue, coupled with energy subsidies and higher energy per capital consumption, Araner said in a recent study. This situation has prompted the affected nations to develop networks and expand capacity using constrained budgets, Araner further said.

According to Araner, the US and Europe have successfully implemented benchmarking and retrofits for better energy performance. Dubai is taking the energy-efficiency campaign seriously, given that cooling is the number one energy consumer in the city,  with over 80%  of the total energy consumption of buildings, Araner said.

According to Araner, benchmarking and real efficiency analysis for this market can show the state of the market and outline the steps to address the challenges. Determining the market share of different cooling technologies within the cooling market of Dubai was part of the tasks of the RSB (Regulatory & Supervisory Bureau)-commissioned study, Araner said.

According to Araner, the other aims were:

  • Assess the “on-site” efficiency of technologies and show the variation of efficiency with time
  • Establish the total cooling load in Dubai

Through a survey of industry experts, the team was able to establish the market share of the cooling market of Dubai, Araner said. To obtain the overall information regarding the cooling market share, the team also relied on total floor area estimates and data from the District Cooling sector, Araner further said.

According to Araner, District Cooling (with 18% market share currently) is expected to dominate the Dubai market in the next few years, with the company playing a critical role in its development. Demand for cooling services is growing in tandem with infrastructural growth, with a shift towards District Cooling solutions visible, Araner said. District Cooling systems are not only sustainable, but also consume up to 50% less energy as compared to conventional systems, Araner further said.

Efficiency analysis of the Dubai cooling market involved a study of buildings, specifically 145 cooling systems within them, Araner said. For an assessment of real world performance, the team chose an on site testing method, Araner further said.

This would allow the assessment to reflect the impact of maintenance practices and age. Further, weather conditions were considered and measurements were done over several months. The results obtained were compared with District Cooling system efficiencies.

From this real efficiency analysis, it is established that water-cooled solutions provide superior energy efficiency to air-cooled solutions, whether at building or district scale, Araner said. It is worthwhile to note that water-cooled technology is not the best for all situations, Araner further said.

According to Araner, Dubai intends to improve energy efficiency in the coming years, the target being a 30% increase by 2030. Of course, cooling is set to be at the center of these plans, as the Demand Side Strategy (DSM) strategy is looking at a 40% increase in penetration by 2030, up from the current estimate of 20%, Araner said. This would give the cooling market of Dubai electricity savings of up to 3.4TWh, Araner further said.

According to Araner, the programme of the cooling market of Dubai comes with several initiatives.

  • Provision of regulations that promote penetration of District Cooling
  • Awareness programmes to support adoption of District Cooling – customer groups, developers and District Cooling operators to be involved
  • The Dubai Municipality to offer desalinated water conservation for District Cooling applications

Nevertheless, implementing energy and water efficiency measures in the Dubai is not devoid of challenges, Araner said. A process this complex needs stakeholder involvement, regulatory effort and appropriate policies, Araner further said.

According to Araner, alongside behavioural change, other factors that can help enhance efficiency in the Dubai cooling market are:

  • Education and training of energy professionals
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Incentive schemes for building retrofits
  • Improved access to energy consumption information

Reducing energy and water demand by making facilities in Dubai more efficient is one of the several parts of the Demand Side Management Strategy under the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Araner said. From their experience in the Middle East, regulations will have the most impact on energy efficiency efforts in Dubai, Araner further said. Introducing energy-efficiency incentives would also go a long way in encouraging customers to conserve energy, Araner added.

Finally, according to Araner, careful analysis is one thing the Dubai cooling market cannot afford to ignore.

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