Water & Electricity
The power and water sector in the UAE is heavily influenced by the structure of the Government and the significant powers afforded to the individual emirates by the Federal Constitution.
In Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) is responsible for the generation, transportation and distribution of water and electricity within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In Dubai and Sharjah, these tasks are the responsibility of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) respectively. The remaining emirates of Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah are served, for the most part, by the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA).
All utility authorities in the UAE face some common challenges, including one of the world’s most varied or “peaky” annual demand curves. During the hot summer days, demand can exceed 92% of total installed generation capacity. However, during the cooler winter evenings, demand can shrink to as little as 33% of total installed generation capacity. Indeed, in the winter months, operational levels for power plants throughout the UAE are driven as much by the need to maintain cogeneration water production levels as by actual demand for power. This “swing” in demand is improving as the nation increases the size of its industrial sector as a proportion of total demand, but it continues to represent both an economic and technical challenge at the current time.
Another common challenge faced by the various utility authorities, albeit to differing degrees, is that of sourcing sufficient quantities of natural gas to supply generation facilities during the peak summer months. Currently, all utility authorities are forced to rely to some degree on costly back-up fuel in order to meet summer power and water demand.