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UAE's Masdar, Engie to invest $5 bil in renewables, hydrogen


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UAE targeting 25% global market share of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030

France aiming for 6.5 GW of electrolyzer capacity by 2030

The UAE's clean energy firm Masdar and France's Engie plan to invest $5 billion to develop 2 GW of renewable and hydrogen projects by 2030 as OPEC's third biggest producer seeks to implement its net zero emissions pledge by 2050.

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The agreement between Masdar and Engie was signed during French President Emmanuel Macron's official state visit to the UAE, Abu Dhabi government's media office said Dec. 3 on Twitter.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., which is in charge of the UAE's nuclear power plants, also signed an agreement with Électricité de France to invest in research and development of low-carbon hydrogen.

"The agreement with EDF, the world's largest producer of electricity, aims to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and enable knowledge exchange in the peaceful nuclear energy sector," the media office said.

The UAE was the Middle East's first country to commit to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, with AED 600 billion ($163 billion) in planned renewables investments.

Hydrogen roadmap

The Gulf state has been signing a number of agreements to help fulfill its net zero pledge.

The UAE and Russia, members of the OPEC+ alliance, in November signed an agreement to collaborate on hydrogen development, particularly in the production, storage and transportation of the fuel.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the UAE and Russia will collaborate in the manufacture of equipment used in the production, liquefaction and use of raw hydrogen and fuel mixtures that use hydrogen as a main element, UAE's state-run Emirates News Agency (Wam) said, citing a ministry statement.

The UAE is targeting a 25% global market share of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 with the launch of its "hydrogen leadership roadmap" at the UN Climate Change Conference.

The roadmap sets out support for domestic, low-carbon industries and aims to establish the country as a leading hydrogen exporter, Wam said Nov. 4.

Most ambitious

France has Europe's most ambitious electrolyzer targets with some Eur7 billion in support for 6.5 GW of capacity planned by 2030.

Achieving global net-zero emissions by 2050 would require about 520 million mt/year of green and blue hydrogen, according to the International Energy Agency's recent net zero roadmap, a huge jump from today's small volumes. In 2020, about 90 million mt/year of conventional hydrogen was produced, mostly from fossil fuels, according to the IEA.

The UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. will join energy company Taqa and sovereign wealth fund Mubadala to combine their renewables and green hydrogen operations into Masdar with plans to boost capacity from 23 GW to "well over" 50 GW by 2030.

The expanded Masdar is intended to lead the nation's drive to net zero by 2050, all three companies said in a Dec. 1 statement. The 50 GW of renewables capacity by 2030 would make Masdar the largest player in the Middle East and North Africa region, Taqa Chairman Mohamed Alsuwaidi said.