Sharjah's environment sector set to grow by 15%
Industry expected to reach almost AED1bn by 2016
A study by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, has said that the Emirate’s environment sector is expected to grow by 15% from AED780mn ($212mn) this year to almost AED1bn ($272mn) by 2016, thanks to a portfolio of eco-tourism projects that are currently underway.
According to a report by WAM, the Shurooq study identified the environment sector as one of the Sharjah's four key sectors primed for growth—the other sectors include travel and tourism, healthcare and transport and logistics.
Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, said: “Although the environment sector is now worth AED780mn, the Sharjah government is keen to expand further in this field, through attracting foreign direct investment into solar energy generation plants and water desalination projects.”
“The environment sector is composed of three sub-sectors, namely renewable energy, waste management, and energy efficiency,” he explained. “The UAE has one of the highest per capita waste levels in the world, with environmental challenges very much on the federal government’s agenda, and Sharjah has carved out its niche as the UAE’s pioneer for renewable energy alternatives.”
"With the UAE leading the renewable energy charge in the Gulf region, the UAE market potential is expected to reach AED183bn ($49.8bn) by 2020, with annual growth of 15% during the period from 2012-2020," Al Sarkal added.
With regards to energy efficiency, Al Sarkal said that the UAE is adopting an ambitious renewable energy plan as it aims to boost investment in clean energy technology over the next few years and expects to attract AED367bn ($99.9bn) of investments in alternative and sustainable energy projects by 2020, including renewable energies, biofuel, urban development projects and wastewater recycling.
He said that solar power technologies have the highest potential for the UAE and Sharjah, which is a good renewable energy components manufacturing platform for the MENA region, due to its strategic location, logistics infrastructure, cheap labour costs and developed manufacturing base with ready availability of various components.
"We abide by eco-friendly standards in our tourist and leisure projects, and we have also initiated a host of eco-tourism projects and green initiatives in line with the emirate’s eco-friendly approach aimed at preserving the environment and ensuring a better life for generations to come," Al Sarkal said.
Among these projects are the Kalba Eco-tourism project, the Sir Bu Nuair Island project, Al Jabal Resort, The Chedi Khorfakkan, Al Majaz Waterfront, and the newly opened Al Montazah Amusement and Water Park.