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District Cooling Summit 2023 held at COP28

By District Energy posted 12-05-2023 09:30




  • Rob Thornton: UAE is gaining international admiration for its sustainability programs
  • Bin Shafar: We seek to elevate the district cooling industry to increase its contribution to reducing emissions
As part of the activities of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) taking place in the Expo City, Dubai, Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation PJSC (Empower), hosted the District Cooling Summit 2023, organized by the International District Energy Association (IDEA) in the Green Zone, with the participation of leaders from the global district cooling sector, representatives from governmental bodies, international organizations, and officials from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), along with environmental experts from various countries.
The summit featured professional sessions that convened both international and local energy sector experts to delve into the present landscape of the district cooling industry. These discussions centered on exploring the industry's future prospects and pioneering new solutions aimed at achieving significant advancements in this crucial sector.
The inaugural session was led by Rob Thornton, President and CEO of the International District Energy Association (IDEA); His Excellency Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO of Empower and IDEA Board Member Emeritus, and Chairman of Dubai’s District Cooling Operators Association; and Shikha Bhasin, Senior Advisor at UNEP.
Addressing Climate Change and Reducing Carbon Emissions
During the first panel discussion, speakers emphasized the significance of energy-efficient solutions in curbing carbon emissions and underscored the pivotal role of district cooling in addressing global climate change challenges.
International experts in district cooling and energy, such as Ahmad Bin Shafar; Carlyle Coutinho, CEO of Enwave & IDEA Board Chair; Steven Swinson, former CEO of CentTrio and IDEA Board Member Emeritus; Andrea Voigt, Head of Global Public Affairs & Industry Affairs at Danfoss; and Ommid Saberi, Global program lead for Green and Resilient Buildings at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), USA, highlighted the importance of efficient cooling methods and proposed a roadmap to achieve desired goals in this regard.
Need for District Cooling Favorable policies 
The second panel discussion delved deeper into the significance of policies favoring district cooling. The focus was on enabling the industry to further reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable urban development. District cooling experts, including Ahmad Bin Shafar; Khaled Al Marzouqi, CEO of Tabreed; Dr. Adib El Moubadder, CEO of Emicool; Ahmed Al-Ammari, CEO of Marafeq Qatar; and Joyce Honeine, Program Management Director at the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, enriched the session with their insights.
Bin Shafar said: “We all understand that climate change has become a real threat that must be confronted with deliberate actions and policies, not with only words and emotions. Fortunately, district cooling systems possess significant potential to mitigate this threat. This vital industry not only helps build a sustainable future, but also creates an enabling environment for energy-efficient management systems.  We trust our ability to provide more efficient plans for countries and governments to adopt district cooling as a future solution for sustainable life."
UAE Supremacy
For his part, Rob Thornton, President and CEO of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), remarked that the world looks with admiration and appreciation to the UAE for its pioneering efforts and supremacy in the applications of sustainability and environmental preservation to contribute to reducing climate change.
Thornton praised UAE for its strategies to increase the contribution of renewable energy, including the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 and the UAE Net Zero 2050, in addition to the Dubai Demand Side Management Strategy 2030, which aims to reduce electricity and water consumption by 30% by 2030. He explained that the UAE’s global leadership in the district cooling sector was the fruits of the State’s investment in advanced infrastructure and facilities with international standards.