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Luc Koechlin

Managing Director & CEO for the Middle East, EDF Group

Frédéric Claux

Managing Director, MEA, ENGIE

These two multinationals are helping Abu Dhabi make the transition toward a more sustainable and decarbonized future with innovative energy saving solutions and renewables generation.
What have been the company’s main achievements in the Middle East in the last few years?

LUC KOECHLIN EDF has been present in the UAE for more than 25 years, and I am extremely proud of our company’s success in the Middle East. We have strengthened our presence in the region by investing and developing low-carbon generation plants, such as solar, wind, and hydro projects. Our first renewable project in the region is the iconic 800-MW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, jointly developed with our local partners Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Masdar. We also won a USD3.8-billion strategic project as a consortium with our South Korean and Japanese partners following a tender launched by ADNOC in 2021 to develop and operate the first-of-its-kind 150-km high-voltage, direct current (HVDC-VSC) subsea transmission system in the MENA region. It will power ADNOC’s offshore production operations with cleaner and more efficient energy, delivered through the Abu Dhabi onshore power grid. Another major achievement for EDF in the region is our JV company with Masdar called Emerge to develop turnkey energy services solutions for our clients.

FREDERIC CLAUX On a global scale, ENGIE’s renewable energy production capacity is closer to 40GW, comprising a mix of wind, solar, and hydro. The company aims to accelerate this business and achieve a global objective of 80GW by 2030. ENGIE is active in the renewables space in several regions, including Europe, the US, Latin America, and the Middle East, where it is exploring different projects in countries including the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In KSA, ENGIE is currently reviewing the latest Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) solar project that is being tendered for 1.5GW as well as a few wind opportunities. Additionally, it is working on renewable or green hydrogen projects and has formed a strategic alliance with local champion Masdar in the UAE. ENGIE and Masdar will collaborate on several projects, with the objective of starting construction on one of the two projects in 2023 and the second one in 2024, though it is worth noting that it is still early days as the industry in still in its infancy.

What gaps does EDF Group aim to tackle in the field of the energy transition?

LK Like all other countries, the UAE is now facing the challenge of the renewable energy intermittency. To ensure the electricity availability on the grid 365 days per year, we must build a new energy mix that is a combination of low-carbon generation solutions and sustainable and scalable storage capacities to offer a buffer for the extra-solar generation during the day. The UAE’s visionary authority early realized the importance of this and built the Barakah nuclear power plant, invested in solar farms, accompanied the C&I business to become the actors of their energy needs, and last but not least developed innovative storage solutions. EDF is delighted to be the engineer to supervise on behalf of DEWA the execution of the first hydropower storage project in the Middle East: Hatta Power pumping storage power plant (HPSPP), near Dubai. We are working on many similar potential projects in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, but also in KSA and Oman. That is one of the added values that EDF brings to the region.

To what extent does the UAE contribute to ENGIE’s success in terms of energy production and greenhouse emission reduction?

FC ENGIE has a strong footprint in the GCC, particularly in the UAE, which is regarded as a rapidly growing country. It has close to 30GW of power installed and six power plants in the region. The company also plans to diversify its business base, focusing on renewables and standalone reverse osmosis (RO) plants for desalination. ENGIE is about to start construction on two projects in the UAE, with the objective of launching operations by the end of 2025. ENGIE has a 40% investment in Tabreed, a district cooling company that is booming in the UAE and beyond. Another part of its business focuses on energy efficiency projects, under the umbrella of its Energy Solutions business. ENGIE is working with Super ESCO in Abu Dhabi and has completed a project with a cement factory to install new energy-saving devices. Finally, it has an important partnership with the Abu Dhabi Municipality to deploy a district lighting project.

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