Since the commissioning of the United Arab Emirates’ first district cooling scheme in May 1999, the use of district cooling has continued to gather momentum. By 2017, the total installed district cooling capacity reached 3 million Tons of Refrigeration (TR), representing approximately 10% of the UAE’s total air conditioning market.
In 2010, the United Arab Emirates’ peak cooling demand was approximately 8 million TR. By the year 2030, it is expected to increase by around 275% to 20 million TR, of which 39% is anticipated will be suitable to be serviced by district cooling. This equates to an increase of nearly three times between now and 2030.
The period 2010 to 2015 saw a continuation of the move away from the traditional approach to procuring district energy and towards project financing. Project financing is now seen as the most economically viable and attractive means to deliver district cooling infrastructure in the region for government and operators alike.
A combination of the future cooling demand, the fact that air conditioning accounts for up to 70% of the UAE’s electricity demand and district cooling consumes 40-50% less energy than conventional cooling, as well as the UAE’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, means there is a positive outlook for the district cooling industry in the UAE.