Business Profiles

ADWEA – Powering progress

You’d need to have been living under a rock to not notice that Abu Dhabi is in the midst of some radical changes. In line with a vision to embrace a new community structure by 2030, everyone has a part to play, so Endeavour Magazine took a look at one of the major contributors to the project; the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority.

When researching exactly who and what the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) is, it was impossible to avoid a key phrase that kept cropping up, in connection with this vital Government-owned operation. ADWEA is defined by its own determination to ‘shape the future’ and to do so, everybody involved acknowledges the importance of understanding how Abu Dhabi has progressed and how much more it can accomplish,

“Only 70 years ago, Abu Dhabi was primarily a Bedouin village focused on herding, fishing and pearl diving. The cultural and economic acceleration that we’ve recently witnessed is unparalleled in the world today. As we strive to meet the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision, ADWEA is not only dedicated to providing the water and electricity the Emirate needs, but also the guidance, collaboration and partnership that’s needed to help Abu Dhabi reach its full potential.”

It should come as no surprise that any community wishing to develop, innovate and move with the times needs to be able to rely on consistent and efficient energy resources and that is the crux of what ADWEA promises. Constantly looking for new ways to ensure economic and sustainable ways to produce, distribute and even consume water and electricity, the Authority is far more than a simple utilities operation; it is the lifeblood of a fast-moving and energetic community of people that share a progressive vision. Naturally, the Abu Dhabi Government has recognised the importance of what ADWEA does and as such, owns the Authority, but allows it to be financially and administratively independent. This has allowed for beneficial private sector partnerships to be forged,

“In 1998, we changed the nature of our organisation by establishing our first private public partnership. We partner with foreign companies to implement the most efficient technologies and create jobs throughout the Emirate, all to better serve the people of Abu Dhabi. Our programmes and initiatives focus on sustainability, and plan for growth, while ensuring economic and environmental balance.”

When was the last time that you heard about a high-performance utilities operation genuinely considering the environment to be a major consideration? We know that a lot of institutions and operations will pay lip service to this issue, but the proof of the pudding is very much in the eating and in terms of environmental policies, ADWEA is setting a new standard, while making no bones about why,

“Effective Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) policies set a clear direction for ADWEA to follow. They contribute to all aspects of business performance as part of a commitment for continuous improvement within the Electricity and Water industry. In the field of Health Safety & Environment we seek to achieve the highest standard. We do not pursue this aim simply to achieve compliance with current legislation, but because it is in our best interests.”

The team at ADWEA continued to elaborate,

“Performance is measured against agreed standards to reveal where and when improvements are needed. Continued active self-monitoring by ADWEA will reveal how effective the HSE management system is working. However, to make long-term improvements we need everyone to accept that good health and safety practices are an investment, not a cost. We cannot make major improvements in HSE if we do not have visible and sustained commitment from people in all areas of work – including top-level management. ADWEA needs to go forward and build on these initiatives. The incentives to improve are clear and everyone has a part to play in making these improvements a reality. The range of initiatives recognised today gives greater hope for the future.”

Speaking of the future, ADWEA is not only looking to the environment as a source of sustainable progress, as community support is offered in wondrously inclusive ways,

“We provide educational opportunities to our employees and the people of Abu Dhabi, we award scholarships to students in need and spread energy efficiency throughout the business and homes of Abu Dhabi. Most importantly, we provide everyone with water and electricity.”

Given the importance of what ADWEA does, it stands to reason that educating current and future generations is key to continued success and it offers existing staff the motivation needed to carry on working to their full potential. With extensive training programmes in operation, there will never come a point where ADWEA is stuck for the right person to carry out a vital task, which is great news, considering the projects that are currently in progress.

The team at ADWEA have a unique understanding of the critical nature of the work they carry out and are always ‘preparing for tomorrow, today’ through extensive research,

“Today, the average person in Abu Dhabi consumes 550L of water a day, according to the EAD. All of that water must be properly desalinated before it reaches their homes, and we make sure that happens. Tomorrow, one thing will remain constant: the people of Abu Dhabi will still need clean water and reliable power. The development of renewable energy and alternative techniques means ADWEA can offer more efficient and environmentally safe power for you, your business and your family – now and in the future.”

So, what are the projects that will support this future community? Well, Abu Dhabi is in the process of building the world’s largest solar power plant, in a bid for cleaner energy. The $870 million project is a collaborative international effort by ADWEA, a Japanese company Marubeni and a Chinese manufacturer called JinkoSolar. The plant should be completed by 2019, well ahead of 2030.

In a further show of clean energy faith, ADWEA has also pledged to purchase electricity generated by the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah nuclear power plant.

It’s no small mantle to take on; the guaranteeing of reliable, sustainable and clean energy and water supplies to a thriving community, but ADWEA is making it look exceptionally easy. With a clear end goal in mind and a recognised deadline of 2030 to work to, we know that ADWEA will continue making great strides forward for the people of Abu Dhabi and their quality of life.