The world’s first automated, artificial-intelligence-powered renewable energy digital utility is set to be established in Dubai. The utility is proposed by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) for the Dubai 10X Initiative; an ambitious venture overseen by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).
The “Digital DEWA” project – the Authority’s digital arm – re-imagines operational procedures for service providers, as well as disrupts the entire business model of a public utility by becoming the world’s first autonomous, renewable-energy utility offering AI-powered digital services. DEWA is pioneering a new model of utility services leveraging innovation in renewable energy, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and digital services.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of DFF’s Board of Trustees, launched the bold plan, among a bundle of avant-garde proposals for Dubai 10X at the 6th World Government Summit, held in Dubai in February 2018. The Dubai 10X initiative seeks to place Dubai Government entities 10 years ahead of the rest of the world in all sectors, propelling the emirate into the future by implementing today what other cities around the world will be implementing 10 years from now.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan adopted 26 projects presented by 24 government entities. The shortlisted projects were evaluated by a panel of experts out of a total of more than 160 ideas submitted by 36 parties in less than 365 days.
His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, DEWA’s Managing Director and CEO, said: “Our vision is guided by the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai. We continuously seek to implement ambitious strategies, programs and plans in an effort to achieve the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071, which outlined a long-term strategy to build a bright future for the Emirates.”
“We embrace innovation as a cornerstone for continuous improvement to enhance DEWA’s competitiveness in all areas,” H.E. added. “Furthermore, we always keep pace with the development of Fourth-Industrial-Revolution technologies, and take advantage of disruptive innovations in various fields, including AI, robotics, the internet of things (IoT), and 3D printing, to support the Dubai 10X Initiative and propel the emirate towards the future, placing it 10 years ahead of other global cities.”
“Continuing on our innovation-focused approach, DEWA is looking to build the world’s first autonomous renewable-energy digital utility, establishing it as a groundbreaking world-class project from Dubai,” H.E. Al Tayer explained. “Our 10X response will focus on four pillars to deliver a new utility experience for Dubai and the world: solar, energy storage, autonomous services (AI), and digital, all in an effort to make Dubai a global model for clean energy and green economy and to leverage disruptive 4IR technologies, such as: AI, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), energy storage, blockchain, and IoT, among others.”
Digital DEWA consists of four individual pillars that will work together to disrupt the entire business by creating a brand new digital agency.
The Dubai Solar pillar seeks to develop, enhance and deploy advanced solar technology in Dubai to power a 75% renewable grid by 2050. The pillar will launch Dubai to the forefront of the solar energy sector with a 24-hour, solar-powered utility providing electricity and water. it is composed of three sub-initiatives: solar to electricity, solar to thermal, and solar to chemical.
The pillar enlists several potential partners, such as ACWA Power; TÜV Rheinland; the National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain (CENER); Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, USA; Chinese multinational renewable energy company Hanergy; Ghenova naval, offshore, aeronautics, and infrastructure consultants; UAE University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Stanford University; University of New South Wales (UNSW); Khalifa University; and Harvard University.
Second is the Energy Storage pillar, which will introduce a multi-tech, large-scale integrated energy storage solution for residential- and utility-scale applications. The pillar is composed of five sub-initiatives. Under the first three initiatives – pumped storage hydro power-plant; concentrated solar power; and energy storage systems – DEWA will build the first pumped storage hydropower plant in the region with a power capacity of 250 MW and energy capacity of 2.5 GWh (gigawatt-hours); this is part of the Hatta development project.
The fourth sub-initiative will perceive DEWA developing the region’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) facility with thermal storage for 24-hour energy with 1GW power capacity and 10GWh energy capacity. Meanwhile, the fifth and final pillar consists of building a world-class research facility (Smart Grid Integration Lab) to test and benchmark different energy-storage technologies and provide valuable information on the best way to integrate and control/operate energy storage systems.
Potential partners contributing to this pillar include: Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO); Tesla; Mercedes-Benz; Japanese spark plug manufacturer NGK; IK4 Research Alliance; design engineering, technology consulting and construction management company Amplex; Italian multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas ENEL; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, USA; LG; UK integrated energy company EDF; Siemens; Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché; and energy storage solutions provider Kokam.
The third pillar, Autonomous Services (AI), is branded Rammas/AI, and will make Dubai the first city to apply autonomous utility customer services. It will expand the use of Artificial Intelligence across the whole value chain to enhance customer experience and improve productivity. The pillar will deploy machine learning to augment customer experiences, support employee services and productivity enhancement, and optimize core grid operations. The Rammas/AI project will be realized through three sub-initiatives: AI for customers, AI for employees, and AI-powered systems.
Potential partners contributing to the third pillar include: Microsoft; IBM Watson; Google DeepMind; Siemens and General Electric (GE). This project was initiated in early 2017 via a roadmap that envisions AI services covering all customer sectors. Branded as Rammas, the project included the first government AI chatbot that speaks both Arabic and English and is available through multiple platforms including the DEWA app and website, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Facebook. It augments customer experience via its ability to expand and self-learn with experience and interaction.
The fourth and final pillar, Digital, is also known as the Data Hub. It will expand DEWA’s digital offering by launching a futuristic platform, MORO, which offers cutting-edge colocation, cloud-computing and managed business services to advance the regions’ digital agenda. The pillar goes beyond cloud computing to deliver a global benchmark, one-stop-shop services and solutions, and a first-class customer experience. The Data Hub will feature three sub-initiatives: colocation services, cloud services, and managed business services.
Potential partners contributing to the digital data hub pillar are: Cloud management software provider Virtustream; SAP software solutions provider; and Dell EMC. The Data Hub will be a world-class data center that will offer data-center services and managed business solutions to the public and private companies in the UAE and the region.
DFF’s CEO H.E. Khalfan Belhoul said: “The Dubai Future Foundation is implementing the Dubai 10X Initiative alongside various government entities, in an effort to achieve the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 Plan, and carry out the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, to improve quality of life in the UAE and embrace modern technologies to provide smarter services to all UAE residents and export them to the rest of the world.”
“Guided by the forward-thinking vision of its wise leadership, the UAE has become an influential player in the international energy sector, and a major contributor to the development of sustainable practices and renewable energy,” H.E. Belhoul concluded, adding that DEWA’s initiative echoes these principles and establishes the first global institution to advance these objectives through information technology and artificial intelligence tools.
Overseen by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), the Dubai 10X Initiative seeks to place Dubai Government entities 10 years ahead of the rest of the world in all sectors, propelling the emirate into the future by implementing today what other cities around the world will be implementing 10 years from now – all under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of DFF’s Board of Trustees, and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
Government bodies across all sectors are joining in the effort to implement their projects in collaboration with innovative tech companies, heeding the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, who called on all government entities in Dubai to embrace today what other cities will be implementing 10 years from now, as he launched the Dubai 10X Initiative for the first time during the 5th annual World Government Summit in 2017.