The UK has expanded international cooperation in the energy sector by confirming long-term partnerships with Colombia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Both partnership agreements focus on sustainability and clean energy investments, helping to provide multiple decarbonization opportunities in the future and unlocking investment in the renewable space.
Along with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UAE, the agreement is expected to facilitate the sharing of technical knowledge, advice, skills and expertise, thereby opening up new avenues for energy and climate cooperation. This will further boost employment and investment within the UK.
The UAE is already a heavyweight in the renewable energy space as it continues to invest in technologies focused on the global energy transition. The UAE embassy said this has seen the country operate three nuclear reactors and be home to “three of the largest and lowest-cost solar power plants in the world”.
The MoU was signed by UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps and UAE Energy and Infrastructure Minister Sohail Mohamed Al Mazrouei.
“The UK is immensely proud of its longstanding relationship with the UAE. Today’s latest agreement is further evidence that we are not only enhancing energy security and lowering consumer bills in the long run, but in the process investing in UK expertise and jobs unlock a huge opportunity,” Sharps said.
“International cooperation on energy and climate with close partners such as the UAE is critical, and as they host COP28 later this year, they will have our full support every step of the way.”
A salient aspect of this partnership is how it builds on a previous memorandum of understanding established in 2018. While previous agreements saw both countries cooperating in the energy sector, the latest agreement has now been expanded to cover the full scope of the bilateral agreement. This includes the use of hydrogen.
The UAE’s interest in the UK’s hydrogen industry has intensified in recent years, with its largest energy company, ADNOC, taking a 25% stake in the design phase of BP’s blue hydrogen project, known as H2 Seaside.
Companies around the globe have been pouring money into green hydrogen innovation and production technologies that could provide the last piece needed to fully decarbonize.
The UK government has been cautious about hydrogen.Despite strong support, its initial hydrogen strategy set a goal 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030 – Significantly lower than countries such as the US, Germany and Australia.
The negative reaction from the industry prompted this figure to increase to 10GW, 5GW of which came from green hydrogen. This newly established partnership could see more UAE hydrogen activity in the UK.
As mentioned, the UAE is not the only country the UK has signed up to a strategic partnership to support its net-zero emissions journey. The British government revealed that it has renewed the “Sustainable Development Partnership” with Colombia, the core content of which includes low-carbon energy development and sustainability.
The partnership focuses on halting and reversing deforestation, implementing a just and ambitious energy transition, and promoting the sustainable use of biodiversity, with a commitment to supporting local communities across the country.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “I am delighted to be renewing the British Columbia Sustainable Growth Partnership today to further deepen our collaboration to tackle one of the greatest challenges we all face together.”
The next phase of the partnership will expand to include new and important areas of collaboration, including halting biodiversity loss in terrestrial and marine ecosystems, while ensuring engagement and mainstreaming of gender and social inclusion.