Dubai, UAE, 15 January 2019: “As the energy value chain evolved, energy storage has been deployed across many domains, in order to smoothen energy peaks and also to be able to store surplus energy for use at a later time,” said Dr Ghassan Al Nimry, Director, Eco-Structures International, while providing an overview of thermal energy storage and its contribution to a low-carbon economy in the Middle East region. Pointing to Dubai and its noteworthy Sheikh Mohammed Solar Park, he said, “The project is now adopting thermal storage as a part of their energy mix.” While it is commendable that the United Arab Emirates has invested USD 3.8 billion in the world’s largest solar PV/CSP project, with thermal energy storage capacity, he said that energy storage, so far, has been focused on centralised solutions, which are high cost and material dependent.
Elaborating on the roadblocks to the complete adoption of Thermal Energy Storage, Dr Nimry said: “The Middle East, in many ways, is a mature market. It is profit-driven and so each company will seek to maximise its own profits within the existing regulatory framework. There is very little value placed on a high-quality indoor environment and the cost to sick building syndrome.
Dr Nimry said: “Specifically related to the GCC, about 70% of power capacity is dedicated purely for air conditioning and, hence, there needs to be far stricter controls on the amounts of energy consumed by our buildings and homes. We need higher levels of insulation and lower targets for energy intensity of our structures.”
Pointing to Demand Side Management (DSM) as a key component in this approach, he said, “Governments in the GCC region, most notably the United Arab Emirates, are putting in place ambitious targets for increasing renewable power generation, reducing carbon emission and improving wellness.” He added, “It is a commendable move and will lead the other countries in the Middle East to follow a similar trajectory.”