Abu Dhabi Government has become the first administration in the Middle East to set up a complete integrated regulations system for district cooling.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) made the announcement after the policy was rubberstamped by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Regulations aim to unify standards, integrate efforts to regulate the sector, ensure the highest quality and competitiveness for energy services, and protect consumer rights.
The framework includes clauses to enhance energy efficiency, protect the environment, and encourage investments in the sector.
DoE Chairman, His Excellency Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, said: “The Government of Abu Dhabi has clear strategic vision and directives to improve efficiency in the energy sector and promote more sustainable systems and infrastructure.
“This served as the starting point for us to develop these regulations for the district cooling sector, and we began developing an economic and ecological roadmap for this promising industry.
“Furthermore, it is our aim to encourage the adoption of advanced technologies to attract investment and increase the contribution of the district cooling sector to economic diversification.”
HE reiterated the DoE’s dedication to upholding consumer rights and transparency and fairness for beneficiaries of its services, adding: “We are working to manage energy demand with procedures that rely on advanced technologies, such as district cooling.
“The new regulations allow us to better address the increasing demand for services, in addition to standardising the sector, guaranteeing consumer rights, and establishing a transparent and competitive investment environment.”
The DoE will be organising workshops to familiarise partners – which include the Department of Urban Planning & Municipalities, real estate developers, district cooling providers, distributors and retailers, property owners, and property management companies - with regulations.
DoE Undersecretary HE Mohammed bin Jarsh Al Falasi said: “The Department of Energy is committed to supporting the government’s efforts to ensure the local community’s welfare and offer high-quality logistics services to various economic sectors.
“The regulations for the district cooling sector will not only provide a reference, but also establish a consumer-centric culture and support the emirate’s economic development.”
“We will continue to work with our partners to implement the Regulations, set priorities for the coming period, and encourage innovative and sustainable initiatives in the district cooling sector.
“We are confident that this trend will be a turning point that reflects positively on the quality of services provided by our partners in the sector.”
The DoE also outlined requirements for switching from conventional cooling to district cooling systems, including the availability of sufficient water supplies - drinking water, desalinated, or sea water - that are up to the quality standards.
Another condition is that the cost of implementing a district cooling system must be below the cost of opting for the most optimal of conventional cooling methods. The cooling station must also have access to enough energy supplies to operate.
The DoE drafted the regulations in line with Law No. (11) for 2018, which mandated the department with protecting consumer rights, providing a stable environment for investors, and improving energy efficiency.
Part of the mandate covered regulating district cooling activities, providing licensing for the entities and individuals involved in the sector, and monitoring compliance with quality standards.