The UK has expanded international cooperation in the energy sector with the confirmation of long-term partnerships with both Colombia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Both of the cooperation agreements focus heavily on sustainability and clean energy investment helping to grant several decarbonisation opportunities in the future and unlock investment in the renewable space.
With the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UAE, the agreement is expected to facilitate the sharing of technical knowledge, advice, skills and expertise to open up new avenues for cooperation on energy and climate. This will additionally boost jobs and investment within the UK.
The UAE is already a heavyweight in the renewable space as it continues to invest in technologies focused on the global energy transition. This has seen the nation operate three nuclear power reactors and become home to “three of the largest and lowest-cost solar plants in the world”, the UAE embassy stated.
The MoU was signed by UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps and the UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei.
“The UK is immensely proud of its longstanding relationship with the UAE. Today’s latest agreements provide further evidence that not only are we are strengthening our energy security and lowering bills for consumers in the long term, we’re unlocking huge opportunities for investment in British expertise and jobs in the process,” said Shapps.
“International cooperation on energy and climate with close partners like the UAE is vital and as they take centre stage as hosts of COP28 later this year, they will have our full support every step of the way.”
One of the prominent aspects of this partnership is how it builds upon a previous MoU established in 2018. The previous agreement saw the two countries cooperate in the field of energy, with the latest deal now expanded to encompass the full scope of the bilateral agreement. This includes the use of hydrogen.
UAE interest in the UK hydrogen sector has intensified in recent years with its largest energy company ADNOC having taken a 25% stake in the design stage of BP’s blue hydrogen project dubbed H2Teesside.
Companies around the globe have been pouring capital into green hydrogen innovation and producing technologies that are able to provide that last percentage required for full decarbonisation.
The UK government has been cautious in its approach to hydrogen. Despite major backing, its initial Hydrogen Strategy set a goal of just 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030 – significantly lower than countries such as the US, Germany and Australia.
A negative response from industry prompted this figure to be increased to 10GW, with 5GW to come from green hydrogen. This newly established partnership could see further UAE hydrogen activities in the UK.
As referenced previously, the UAE is not the only country the UK has signed a strategic partnership with to support its net zero journey. The UK government has revealed the renewal of its “Partnership for Sustainable Growth” with Colombia, which encompasses low carbon energy developments and sustainability at its core.
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.
“I’m delighted to renew the UK Colombia Partnership for Sustainable Growth today to deepen that cooperation even further, on one of the greatest shared challenges we face,” said James Cleverly, the UK’s foreign secretary.
The next phase of the partnership will expand to include new and vital areas of collaboration, including halting biodiversity loss in land and marine ecosystems, whilst also ensuring participation and mainstreaming of gender and social inclusion.