Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Dubai utility hits targets for smart initiative

Steve Rogerson
September 9, 2015
The Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) says it has achieved a 100 per cent smart-transformation of its services in less than a year after the launch of the Smart Initiative for Dubai to become the smartest city in the world.
According to the DEWA’s statistics, the adoption of its smart services by customers helped avoid the emission of 13,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2014 alone, the equivalent of planting 66,055 trees in 124.6 football fields. This figure is based on potential emissions that would have emerged from people travelling to and from DEWA’s offices via personal cars or other public transport options such as bus, metro or taxis.
The DEWA launched three smart initiatives to support the Smart Dubai initiative: to connect solar energy in houses and buildings; smart applications and meters; and to build the infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles.
The Shams Dubai initiative encourages tenants and building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity. The DEWA will connect the system to its network and the electricity used onsite with the surplus exported to the grid. This encourages the use of renewable energy, increases its share in electricity production and diversifies the energy mix. It also enables customers to install photovoltaic panels to generate electricity from solar power in buildings, and connect them to the grid.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of the DEWA, commended the resolution issued by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of Dubai Executive Council. “This resolution by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed to regulate the generation of solar energy in buildings and their connection to the electrical grid is yet another step in the sustainability journey in Dubai,” he said. “It encourages all classes of community as well as corporate sector to produce electricity from solar energy. This contributes to diversifying the energy sources by adding the share of renewable energy and also protecting the environment, by reducing the impact of the carbon emission to protect our natural resources. This enhances the position of Dubai and the UAE as an international hub in renewable and clean energy which is the backbone of the green economy as looked at by all people around the globe.”
The smart meter initiative focuses on using smart applications through smart meters and grids, and provides smart features and applications for customers. The DEWA is currently installing 200,000 smart meters and will be replacing all mechanical and electromechanical meters in the coming five years.
The strategy and roadmap for the smart networks project valued at AED7bn. The project aims to enhance the infrastructure that supports the demand side management programme and the initiative of connecting all renewable energy sources.
Smart meters should speed service connection, improve response times, provide instant reconnection of electricity, and rationalise consumption to enhance the happiness and well-being of citizens and residents and to support resource sustainability.
The smart meters project complements the smart grid project by the DEWA to implement a number of technical features in electricity networks, using the latest scada systems, smart monitoring and control automation systems to provide electricity and water services to improve availability, efficiency and reliability.
The Green Charger initiative aims to establish the infrastructure to build 100 electric vehicle charging stations this year. The DEWA has already completed its first phase and built 16 stations and aims to install a further 84 stations by the end of 2015.
The DEWA is establishing the necessary infrastructure in collaboration with several stakeholders including car manufacturers, airports, Dubai Municipality, shopping malls, petrol stations, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), hotels, car parking operators and other facilities
Three types of electric vehicle charging stations are being built. First are fast-charging stations that usually take 20 to 40 minutes. They will be installed in petrol stations and on highways. Medium-charging stations take two to four hours, and will be installed in locations such as shopping malls, parks and offices. Home charging stations normally take six to eight hours.
“Dubai has all the elements to reach top positions globally and has become a leading global hub for sustainability, competitiveness and green economy,” said Al Tayer. “The Green Charger initiative grid will substantially contribute to introducing electric vehicles in Dubai, boosting the use of energy resources and reducing the emirate's carbon footprint. DEWA keeps on taking steady, confident steps towards achieving the comprehensive sustainability as envisioned by the wise leadership of Dubai and the UAE. We are confident that this project will get overwhelming response from Dubai residents and the support of organisations and companies from private and public sectors.”
Another initiative to build Dubai’s position as a hub for creativity and innovation to make it the happiest city on earth is the Sirb initiative. The initiative uses drone technology to support Dubai’s infrastructure and aids smart technologies in serving Dubai’s residents. The DEWA is improving government services by adopting ways for government to communicate effectively with its customers. The UAE is one of the first countries in the world to use drones to provide government services.
This initiative aims to improve the DEWA’s operational efficiency by accelerating operations, increasing safety during regular network testing and maintenance, and accurately detecting failures. It will also help in monitoring generation, in field surveys for new projects, and in new connections for buildings and facilities in Dubai. The drones provide early detection by using thermal imaging for overhead power lines. This limits risks and reduces costs, enables a quick response, and is accurate, making it easier to make informed decisions. The drones use upgradable technologies, such as high-definition cameras equipped with night-vision and laser technologies, and GPS sensors. They can also measure pressure, height and magnetic fields with ultrasound scanners.