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14 April 2024

US-UAE Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy to support decarbonising Romanian power sector

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The UAE has joined global partners such as the US, Japan, and South Korea to commit up to US$275 million towards nuclear energy in Romania. The announcement, made by US President Joseph R. Biden at the G7 Summit in Japan, is the first major nuclear energy initiative to be supported under the Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy (PACE).

Support from the UAE and partners will go towards deploying a NuScale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) in Romania. The UAE's engagement comes through the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), which will leverage its significant expertise in constructing and operating light water reactors and support key procurement, engineering, and project management.

US$100 bn for 100gw clean energy

PACE was launched at COP27, in Egypt, in November 2022. PACE aims to catalyse US$100 billion in financing, investment, and other support to deploy 100 new gigawatts of clean energy capacity by 2035. Building on five decades of energy cooperation, the UAE and US established PACE to promote projects and new technologies to accelerate the energy transition and create economic opportunities globally.

Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-Designate of COP28, said, "The world needs to reduce emissions by 43 percent by 2030 to bring the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach. The only way to do this is to work together, build partnerships across regions and with public and private sectors, and invest in transformational, game-changing initiatives. PACE reflects precisely the sort of initiatives that we hope to see come out of COP28.

“This is a landmark moment for PACE. This Small Modular Reactor project will replace an existing coal plant and offer reliable, clean baseload energy. It will also help to reduce emissions in heavy-emitting industrial sectors, and support low-carbon, sustainable economic development. We are proud to be working with our partners to make this possible, and we are excited that this is only the beginning.”

US-UAE shared commitment

Amos Hochstein, US Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security, remarked, “This week’s announcement of continued support for the small modular reactor (SMR) project to be deployed in Romania is an example of the value of the US Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) and the US-UAE Partnership for Advancing Clean Energy (PACE). I am delighted that the first flagship deliverable of PACE underscores the US-UAE shared commitment to a new generation of nuclear energy technologies to achieve net zero goals and energy security.”

Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director & CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), commented, “Decarbonising the power sector is a critical factor for achieving Net Zero 2050, and the UAE has prioritised this through a proactive transition to clean energy sources with key investments in renewables and nuclear energy.

"In the field of peaceful nuclear energy, the UAE is today a global leader in the development of large-scale new nuclear programmes, with significant expertise developed through the successful delivery of the flagship Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, and this is recognised by the fact that we are partnering today with key entities across the USA, Japan and the Republic of Korea to support the deployment of advanced peaceful nuclear energy.

“ENEC will provide its unique know-how and expertise to support this crucial project with our experts to advance in the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies in Romania. This is one of the many steps ENEC takes as part of our wider ambitions of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme support domestic and overseas nuclear programmes, develop clean molecule generation projects, and drive green investment and green premiums in nuclear energy to drive the Net Zero Economy.”

UAE's commitment as COP28 host

ENEC will harness its significant institutional knowledge and technical capabilities to offer in-kind contributions to support the deployment of the NuScale technology in Romania by sharing expertise and personnel. ENEC recently signed an MOU with NuclearElectrica in Romania to explore opportunities in advanced nuclear technologies, and related activities for development, deployment, and financing, demonstrating ENEC’s commitment to supporting Romania with these key national infrastructure programmes to secure its clean energy transition.

As the host country for COP28, the upcoming UN climate conference, the UAE has made a just energy transition and access to clean energy technologies as essential priorities in the fight against climate change. The UAE COP28 Presidency has called for broad and inclusive partnerships, such as PACE, to help accelerate clean energy uptake.

The UAE has delivered one of the most ambitious energy transitions in modern history with key investments in solar and the delivery of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.

Today, Barakah is the largest provider of clean electricity and green certificates in the UAE and the Arab world, generating 30TWh of carbon-free electricity per year from three units, with a total of 40TWh annually with the addition of Unit 4. With Barakah, the UAE drives energy security and grid stability, along with rapidly decarbonising the UAE’s power sector.

Robust action plan for COP28

As the host country for COP28, the upcoming UN climate conference, the UAE has made a just energy transition and access to clean energy technologies essential priorities in the fight against climate change. The UAE COP28 Presidency has called for broad and inclusive partnerships, such as PACE, to help accelerate clean energy uptake.

Dr. Al Jaber has stressed that the world needs to triple renewable energy by 2030 and boost investment in hydrogen and industrial decarbonisation if it is to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

COP28 will see the conclusion of the Global Stocktake on the Paris Agreement, offering a mandated review of progress on implementation. The COP28 President-designate has been clear that the UAE will call for a robust plan of action to respond to the Stocktake and to reignite momentum on each of the pillars of the Paris Agreement: mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.

Since January, the COP28 leadership team has been on a global listening tour, engaging with stakeholders from civil society to business leaders. Dr. Al Jaber, speaking to both energy executives in Houston and climate leaders in Berlin, was clear: the world needs to go further and go faster. The COP President-designate stressed the urgency of unlocking resources, ensuring access to climate finance, and investing in both proven and new technologies to accelerate the path to net-zero.

ENEC's nuclear excellence

The Barakah plant has four units, of which three are commercially operating, with the fourth set to join the operating fleet soon and will generate 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity while preventing the release of 22.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The plant is the largest source of clean electricity in the UAE and wider Arab region, generating electricity equal to billions of dollars of natural gas each year, which can be diverted to higher value uses.

It generates over 80 percent of the clean electricity for the Abu Dhabi Clean Electricity Certification Programme annually, enabling companies such as ADNOC, EGA, and others to produce greener products, demonstrating the impact nuclear energy has on decarbonising hard to abate sectors.

ENEC is now fully focused on operating its plants to the highest standards of nuclear excellence while also using its leading position as a successful nuclear build to drive significant value from its expertise in nuclear energy to identify opportunities in local and international projects and investments in civil nuclear energy and related sectors, as well as generation of clean molecules such hydrogen and ammonia, in addition, to process heat and steam to decarbonise heavy industry (which account for 10 percentof global emissions).