UAE, US form Expert Group to lead bilateral clean energy partnership


Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: At a briefing on Sunday for business and climate leaders during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the UAE and the US officials announced the formation of an Expert Group to govern the Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy (PACE).

Led by UAE Co-Chair Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate; Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and US Co-Chair Amos Hochstein, US Special Presidential Coordinator, the bilateral body will be composed of private sector and government representatives from both countries.

Launched in November 2022, PACE’s goal is to catalyse $100 billion in financing, investment and other support and deploy 100 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy by 2035. It will cover a wide range of proven and emerging technologies, include private and public sector support, and reach broadly into developed and developing economies.

UAE and US officials on Sunday announced $20 billion will be allocated to fund 15 new gigawatts (GW) of clean and renewable energy projects in the US before 2035, led by UAE’s Masdar and a consortium of US private investors. This first wave of investments under PACE will be financed through $7 billion in cash equity from the private sector that will catalyze $13 billion through US debt financing and other instruments.

“Already one of the world’s largest renewable energy investors and developers, the UAE is joining forces with the US under PACE to supercharge a just energy transition, enhance energy security and demonstrate that climate action can unlock economic opportunities,” said Dr. Al Jaber.

“As the international community prepares to take stock of global climate progress at COP28 in the UAE, this multi-sectoral partnership is a transformative step to advance mitigation and adaptation through the pragmatic investment and deployment of clean energy projects across the US, UAE and emerging economies around the world. We are confident that this partnership will provide a new model of cooperation that unites global efforts on the path to COP28 towards achieving meaningful progress.”

“The United States and the United Arab Emirates enjoy a deep and consequential partnership, now strengthened further by our collaboration to advance clean energy innovation and deployment,” said Amos Hochstein. “Just as the United States makes historic investments in clean energy at home, we are also engaging in strategic cooperation to accelerate global investments underpinning energy affordability and climate action. The formation of an expert group and work plan under PACE will help to build momentum toward impactful deliverables at COP28 and beyond.”

Members of the Expert Group will convene monthly to provide guidance across the four strategic pillars of PACE: 1) Clean Energy Innovation, Deployment and Supply Chains; 2) Carbon and Methane Management; 3) Nuclear Energy; and 4) Industrial and Transport Decarbonization. The Co-Chairs will meet quarterly with the full Expert Group to measure impact, initiate new projects and expand support for PACE.

Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General of COP28, and David Livingston, Senior Advisor to U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, have been appointed as the Deputy Co-Chairs of the Expert Group, representing the UAE and the US, respectively. Together, the deputy co-chairs will convene and chair monthly meetings of the Group, which includes a variety of US- and UAE-based entities from the public and private sectors.

PACE financing will support established renewable energy sources like solar and nuclear, as well as new applications such as green hydrogen and carbon capture. In line with its focus on elevating climate action and ensuring a just transition, PACE will prioritize efforts to deliver technical, project management and funding assistance for commercially and environmentally sustainable energy projects across the Global South.

The Expert Group will support the PACE Co-Chairs and key decision makers to operationalize the partnership. The Group will work toward reaching PACE’s targets by tracking progress, proposing new projects, developing financial models, formulating criteria for relevant initiatives and identifying potential partner institutions, among other activities.

The UAE has a track record as one of the most active investors in US clean and renewable energy projects. Through Masdar, the UAE has backed ten clean energy projects totaling more than 1.75 GW across California, Texas, New Mexico and Nebraska. These include investments in the 149-MW Rocksprings wind farm in Val Verde County, TX and the 29.9-MW Sterling wind farm in Lea County, NM.

Internationally, the UAE is supporting and implementing clean energy projects on six continents, including in 31 small island-developing states in both the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.