UAE Energy Diversification

The UAE is implementing groundbreaking renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. With a clear understanding about the impacts of climate change, the UAE is pursuing alternative means for producing the power needed to fuel its economy. The UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative – the first of any country in the Middle East – aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement and with the UAE’s development vision to create new knowledge along with green industries, skills and jobs.

The UAE has taken aggressive action to diversify the UAE energy mix and economy. In 2022, state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Taqa and holding company Mubadala entered a partnership to become shareholders of renewable energy company Masdar, to advance efforts to create a world-leading portfolio in clean energy. This strategic partnership will launch with over 23GW of current committed, and exclusive renewable energy capacity. Today, oil and gas exports account for only about 30 percent of the UAE’s economic activity.

A Key Player in the Adoption of Green Energy

At home, the UAE is rapidly expanding the use of clean energy.

  • Solar Energy: The UAE has three of the world’s largest solar plants. This includes the Noor Abu Dhabi solar park, which will reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint by 1 million metric tons per year, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, which will generate enough solar energy to power 800,000 homes by 2030.
  • Wind Energy: In October 2023, the UAE launched its first wind power program. The 103.5-megawatt (MW) landmark project has been developed across four locations in the UAE and is expected to power over 23,0000 UAE homes and displace 120,000 tons of CO2 per year.
  • Nuclear Energy: The UAE is the first country in the region to operate clean nuclear energy, which will eventually provide 25 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
  • Carbon Capture: The UAE is pragmatic about the present because even in the swiftest energy transition scenario the world will still need oil and gas for the near future. Therefore, the UAE is the first country in the region to deploy industrial-scale carbon capture technology.
  • Hydrogen: The UAE is scaling up its blue and green hydrogen production. The country’s National Hydrogen Strategy 2050 that aims to enhance the UAE’s position as one of the largest producers of hydrogen by 2031.
Continue reading for more detailed information on each of these sectors.
UAE Solar

UAE 2050 Energy Goals

The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 targets an energy mix that combines renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources to meet the UAE’s economic requirements and environmental goals as follows:

  • 44 percent clean energy
  • 38 percent gas
  • 12 percent clean coal
  • 6 percent nuclear

In 2023, the UAE updated its National Energy Strategy to include several new goals, including:

  • Create 50,000 new green jobs by 2030
  • Triple renewable energy capacity to 14 GW by 2030
  • Raise the percentage of clean energy in the total energy mix to 30% by 2031
  • Become carbon-neutral by 2050
uae 2050 energy goals

Renewable Energy

The UAE has pioneered renewable energy in the heart of the hydrocarbon industry. In 2023, the UAE updated its National Energy Strategy and announced plans to invest $54 billion in energy and renewable sources over the next seven years to meet growing energy demands.

Through over 15 years of R&D and policy work, solar is now available at 1.35 cents per kilowatt hour. The UAE has three of the world’s largest solar plants and is rapidly building more.

  • The Noor Abu Dhabi solar park will reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint by 1 million metric tons per year, which is equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.
  • In Dubai, the 4,000-acre Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest solar park in the Middle East, will generate enough solar energy to power 800,000 homes by 2030.
  • The UAE’s Wind Program, developed by Masdar, will introduce wind power to the UAE’s electricity grid, diversifying the country’s energy mix to advance its energy transition.
  • The Wind Program is paving the way for the commercialization of further utility scale, low-wind speed projects and will create a foundation of critical scientific wind data, which will form the basis of the UAE’s next phase of development.
  • Abu Dhabi committed more than $20 billion to renewable energy programs through Masdar, which focuses on the development and commercialization of technologies in renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management and monetization, water usage and desalination.
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Nuclear Energy


The development of a peaceful nuclear energy sector is a key component of the country’s net zero strategy. The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to operate zero-carbon nuclear power, which, along with renewable energy, will provide 14GW of clean power for the UAE by 2030. The development of a civilian nuclear energy sector is a key component of the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to diversifying its energy mix and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

In March 2024, the final unit of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, developed by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), successfully connected to the UAE’s transmission grid. Unit 4 will add another 1,400 megawatts of clean electricity capacity to power the national grid, further supporting the UAE’s efforts in enhancing grid stability and energy security through zero-emissions electricity.

123 Agreement

In December 2009, the UAE and US entered into a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear energy cooperation that enhances international standards of nonproliferation, safety and security. Known as a “123 Agreement,” the pact establishes a required legal framework for commerce in nuclear energy technology between the two countries. The landmark agreement has been hailed as best practice by US officials across administrations, as well as by nonproliferation experts for its commitment to safety, security and operational transparency.

The UAE Government’s peaceful objectives in developing a nuclear energy policy are enshrined in a number of laws and accords, including the UAE Nuclear Law, signed in October 2009.

The 123 Agreement was a key supporting factor in the development of the UAE’s Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) have conducted over 42 missions and reviews of the UAE Program to date, the Barakah plant and the operations team to ensure all activities are aligned with international best practices.

A number of US firms have been involved in the UAE nuclear energy program

  • Westinghouse, headquartered in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, is part of a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation and has provided major components; instrumentation and control equipment; and design technical and engineering support services.
  • Virginia-based Lightbridge Corporation has provided consulting services to the UAE on the design, development and management of the key organizations required to implement a nuclear energy program according to the highest international standards.
  • Englewood, Colorado-based CH2M Hill won a 10-year contract to support the UAE's nuclear program in October 2008.
  • Paul C. Rizzo Associates, a leading global engineering and consulting firm based in Pennsylvania, worked on site placement and engineering during the planning process.

Carbon Capture and Reduction


There is a growing consensus that climate goals cannot be achieved without widespread adoption of multiple carbon capture technologies.

  • In 2016, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) built the region’s first industrial scale carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) facility. It captures 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide with plans to expand six fold by 2030.
  • The UAE is significantly expanding the country’s mangroves, which have the triple benefit of preventing coastal erosion, encouraging biodiversity and capturing more carbon per hectare than rainforests. The UAE plans to plant 100 million new mangroves by 2030.
  • The carbon intensity of the UAE’s crude-grade Murban is less than half the industry average, and ADNOC is committed to reducing the carbon intensity of its operations a further 25 percent over the next decade. ADNOC is the only national oil company to source 100 percent of its grid electricity from zero-carbon nuclear and solar power.

Additional Sustainability Initiatives

Beyond solar and wind power, the UAE has spearheaded significant sustainability projects and initiatives to throughout the country:

  • In 2013, the Emirates Green Building Council created the Energy Efficiency Program to facilitate the reduction of the UAE’s carbon footprint through energy efficiency retrofits of existing inefficient buildings.
  • Dubai is implementing a Smart City” strategy, focusing on 1,000 government services and development in six main areas including transportation, infrastructure, communications, financial services, urban planning and electricity. The strategy laying out steps toward optimizing energy, smarter transport and recreational areas in six main areas including transportation, infrastructure, communications, financial services, urban planning and electricity.
  • Estidama, which means “sustainability” in Arabic, is an initiative developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council to construct and operate buildings and communities in the emirate according to innovative green standards.
  • In Abu Dhabi, a waste-to-energy plant is under development. Once complete, it will use organic waste to generate enough energy to power 20,000 households.


blue hydro

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass and renewable power like solar and wind. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including in cars and homes. The UAE produces natural gas, which it can use to develop blue hydrogen. It also has ample sunshine, which can be harnessed to make green hydrogen.

  • Launched at COP26 in November 2021, the Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap is a comprehensive national blueprint to support domestic, low-carbon industries, contribute to the country’s net zero ambition and establish the UAE as a competitive exporter of hydrogen.  
  • In January 2021, the UAE launched the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance, comprised of ADNOC, Mubadala and ADQ, which will advance low-carbon green and blue hydrogen in emerging international markets and help build a substantial green hydrogen economy in the UAE.
  • Dubai opened the first hydrogen filling station in the Middle East in October 2017.