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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
The Gulf commercial hub of Dubai is aiming to generate 5 percent of its power needs from renewable energy sources by 2030, a top energy official in the emirate said Monday.
Saeed Mohammed al-Tayer, vice chairman of Dubai's Supreme Council of Energy, said solar power would make up the bulk of the green-energy project.
"Soon we'll have a very big project in Dubai in respect to solar," he told reporters.
He did not provide specifics on the projects or say how much the green-energy investment project is expected to cost.
Nearly all of Dubai's existing power supply comes from burning natural gas. Dubai's energy demands spiked during the past decade due to megaprojects and a boom in high-rise buildings that have sprouted up across the city.
Officials announced last year that they were considering new types of power in a bid to diversify Dubai's energy sources. Among the alternatives being considered are "clean coal" technologies, which aim to reduce coal's harmful carbon emissions.
The latest plans call for coal and nuclear power to each supply Dubai with about 12 percent of its power needs by 2030, with 5 percent coming from renewable sources and the rest from natural gas, al-Tayer said.
Dubai is one of seven sheikdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates, an OPEC member that is the world's fourth largest exporter of oil. However, Dubai itself has few oil and gas reserves of its own.
The UAE's first atomic power plant, being built in the far west of the country, will likely help in supplying Dubai's nuclear power. The $20 billion plant is expected to begin operating in 2017.
Most of the country's oil fields are found in Dubai's neighoring emirate, Abu Dhabi, which has pumped billions of dollars of its oil wealth into solar power installations and other clean-energy projects in a bid to establish itself as a world leader in green technology.
Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company Masdar said Monday that they added 2.3 megawatts worth of solar panels to the rooftops of government offices, a mosque and other buildings as part of a pilot project.