United Arab Emirates

With 97% fossil generation, solar’s potential is yet to be fulfilled

The United Arab Emirates’s electricity transition is currently only a glimmer. In 2021, gas supplied 94% of all electricity, down from 97% in 2019. However, solar has started to make inroads, accounting for 5% of electricity generation in 2021 and supplied 40%of the electricity demand growth between 2015 to 2021;  however that means 60% of electricity demand growth was still met from fossil gas. 

With electricity demand per capita one at one of the highest in the world, with four times the global average, there is also big potential for energy efficiency in the country, especially in regulating air conditioning in line with the solar hours. 

Momentum is building throughout the Middle East for a shift to clean electricity, so change will come quickly, particularly since the UAE is going to host COP28 at the end of 2023. It is expected one of the world’s biggest solar plants, the Al Dhafra project, could go online in UAE ahead of COP28 and supply clean electricity to 160,000 households.


Last updated: March 2023

Progress towards 1.5C power sector benchmarks
United Arab Emirates