The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) has issued its first district cooling (DC) licence to the Saadiyat Cooling LLC (SCL), which serves Saadiyat Island, including Saadiyat Beach, and Saadiyat Cultural District.
According to the DoE's statement, a second license will be issued in the coming weeks to Saadiyat District Cooling LLC (SDCL), which serves New York University Abu Dhabi.
This came following the DoE's issuance of the District Cooling Regulations and the District Cooling Applicability Regulations, approved by the Abu Dhabi Government in September 2019, making the Emirate of Abu Dhabi the first jurisdiction in the Middle East and North Africa region to set up a comprehensive regulatory framework for district cooling.
The DoE also announced the launch of the Technical Panel Review Process for the District Cooling Technical Code and District Cooling Metering Code on 23th February, 2021, with membership open to any entity that will be affected by the codes. Panel members include DC Providers, retailers, developers, Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), and Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC).
The objective of this collaborative effort is to ensure that views of all stakeholders are considered in the codes' review, allowing the emirate as a whole to benefit from it. Published in March 2020, the Technical Codes are performance-based specifications with defined key performance indicators aimed at promoting energy efficiency, sound water management, reliability of service, and customer satisfaction.
DoE Undersecretary Mohammad Juma bin Jarsh Al Falasi said, "As the Government department tasked with leading the energy sector in the Emirate, the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy consistently supports the Government’s efforts to ensure the wellbeing of the community, while also driving the growth and progress of various key sectors in the economy." "The District Cooling industry is a key area of our mandate, and with that in mind, we issued the DC regulations to streamline operations in the sector, shift the focus squarely to the consumer, boost Abu Dhabi’s economic growth, and champion sustainable practices and energy efficiency," Al Falasi added.
"Our efforts are beginning to bear fruit with these first two licensed projects now activating the new regulations. We will always be here to collaborate with our partners to implement the regulations and encourage innovative sustainable solutions for District Cooling, as well as every other sector." District cooling systems are usually used for cooling residential buildings, commercial buildings, mixed-use buildings, and densely populated areas. When feasible, they is the most environmentally friendly option when it comes to air conditioning, cutting CO2 emission levels and reducing energy consumption up to 40 percent more than the best conventional cooling system available.
Implementing the DoE regulations in these two schemes promises to deliver substantial benefits to the emirate, such as reduction in consumption fees for over 100 residential units at the Saadiyat Beach Residences.
Other advantages include the existing transparency of costs, an increase in capacity, and service charges for end-consumers; committed investment by licensees to upgrade district cooling plants and enhance service standards; and commitment from licensees to invest in more sustainable technologies that promote using recycled water, sharing any resulting cost benefits with consumers.
Existing environmental benefits from district cooling will be further enhanced with greater usage of recycled water, while also ensuring that customers benefit from having a world-leading district cooling provider operating with a best-in-class regulatory framework.
The regulations align with Law No. (11) for 2018, which mandated the DoE with protecting consumer rights, providing a stable environment for investors, and improving energy efficiency. Another part of the DoE’s mandate is regulating district cooling activities, including licence issuance and monitoring compliance with quality standards.