UAE based Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced that it is utilizing cutting edge technologies including blockchain to develop innovative and sustainable energy solutions to provide its electricity services according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, sustainability, and quality. This is supported by an advanced infrastructure for managing facilities and services through smart and integrated systems, utilising cutting-edge technologies such as the smart grid, artificial intelligence (AI), Space-D programme, blockchain, energy storage and integration of its sources, Internet of Things (IoT), and 3D printing, among others.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, emphasised DEWA’s ongoing efforts and commitment to global sustainability goals, leadership in digital transformation, and spearheading clean and renewable energy projects and initiatives. These efforts are aligned with the vision of the wise leadership to enhance effective adaptation to future developments and address challenges securely and sustainably across all areas. DEWA’s preparedness reflects its strategy and unwavering efforts to achieve its vision of being a globally leading sustainable and innovative corporation committed to achieving Net-Zero by 2050.

Energy production and storage projects:

DEWA relies on pioneering initiatives and projects to diversify clean energy production sources. This includes clean and renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic panel technology, concentrated solar energy, and green hydrogen production using solar energy, along with projects and initiatives to increase energy efficiency.

DEWA is also developing energy storage technologies through several pioneering projects, including the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will have the largest energy storage capacity in the world of 15 hours, allowing for energy availability around the clock, and the pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant in Hatta.

Smart grid:

DEWA aims to enhance its leadership in innovation, sustainability, and future shaping across all its projects and initiatives, focusing on Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and digital transformation. To achieve this goal, DEWA has developed a comprehensive strategy to implement a smart water and electricity infrastructure, known as the Smart Grid. This intelligent grid incorporates advanced features such as automated decision-making and interoperability throughout the electricity and water network.

Among the programmes launched by DEWA under the umbrella of the smart grid is an Automatic Smart Grid Restoration System (ASGR), the first of its kind in the MENA region, to increase the control, management, and monitoring of its power network. The system works around the clock without any human intervention. It uses a smart, innovative, and central system that locates the fault in the power network, isolates it, and automatically restores the service.

Smart meters

Smart meters serve as the backbone of the smart grid and play a pivotal role in driving digital transformation. They enhance operational efficiency and mitigate losses. In Dubai, all active traditional meters for electricity and water have been upgraded to smart meters. These smart meters offer numerous benefits, enabling customers to proactively and digitally manage their consumption without the need to contact DEWA. The Smart Meters Analysis and Diagnosis Centre remotely monitors the smart meters every 15 minutes. As of the end of 2023, the number of smart meters in Dubai reached 2.2 million.

Automatic Smart Grid Restoration System (ASGR):

Among the programmes launched by DEWA under the umbrella of the smart grid is an Automatic Smart Grid Restoration System (ASGR), the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, to increase the control, management, and monitoring of its power network. The system works around the clock without any human intervention. It uses a smart, innovative, and central system that locates the fault in the power network, isolates it, and automatically restores the service. This improves grid automation, fault detection and retrieval of connections.

Enhancing efficiency through Space-D

DEWA’s Space-D programme contributes to raising the development, maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks. It improves the efficiency of DEWA’s generation, transmission, and distribution divisions by monitoring solar power plants and enhancing the accuracy of generation predictions. This is achieved through forecasting weather patterns, seawater temperature and salinity, and monitoring electricity transmission lines. Additionally, it aids in detecting water leaks and identifying any changes in the infrastructure, further optimising DEWA’s operations. As part of its Space-D programme, DEWA launched two nanosatellites DEWA-SAT1 in January 2022, and DEWA-SAT2 in April 2023. DEWA is the first utility in the world to launch nanosatellites to improve its operations.

Innovative initiatives for the production, transmission, and distribution divisions:

DEWA’s initiatives for its production, transportation and distribution sectors, which rely on expertise, experiences and capabilities, contribute to enhancing DEWA’s leadership and excellence. These initiatives ensure the sustainability and preservation of resources and provide ways to develop them by applying best practices in all initiatives and projects to raise production and operational efficiency. During 2023, there were many initiatives undertaken by various divisions within DEWA, the most important of which were: Distribution Automation of Secondary Distribution Substations, Distribution Network Smart Centre, and DEWA Cable Lab.

Globally competitive results:

The seamless, swift, and effective operation of the smart grid has enabled DEWA to achieve competitive results that surpass prominent European and American companies in terms of efficiency and reliability. DEWA has reduced electricity Customer Minutes Lost (CML) in Dubai from 4.9 minutes in 2014 to 1.06 minutes in 2023, which is the lowest in the world. DEWA has also reduced losses in electricity transmission and distribution networks from 3.3% in 2014 to 2.0% last year by adopting the best international technical standards and the most accurate engineering practices in the planning, design, construction, and operation of energy systems. This percentage is also the lowest worldwide. In 2014, water network losses were at 9.1%, and reached 4.6% in 2023, which is the lowest in the world.

USA based Meer Energy, Co-Founder Abdullah Han, was one of the speakers in June 2023’s 10th Arab China Business Conference, in Riyadh KSA, under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, where he met with positive feedback for his concept of developing a Blockchain AI Bitcoin and carbon credit mining datacenter in the country.

In an interview with LaraontheBlock, Han explains why he participated at the Arab China Business Conference and how his business model was received.

According to Han, Meer Energy a US based company for Bitcoin mining which utilizes flared gas to power its datacenters is working to expand its business model which includes Blockchain, AI datacenter as well as Carbon Credit tokenization to the Middle East, African and Asian region.

Han believes that the future of industrialization will be driven by blockchain and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and this requires energy and hashpower, more specifically sustainable hashpower that can support AI and Blockchain development of use cases.  He states, “We are trying to use waste energy from oil and gas, flared energy and renewable energy to create cheap energy that powers AI and Blockchain, Bitcoin mining, and carbon credit tokens. We already have a joint venture with Asian investors to deliver datacenters in the USA.”

Meer Energy’s value proposition is to utilize the flare gas sites in the MENA region, such like those in Iraq, KSA and others to power big datacenters. As he explains, countries such as Iraq have a huge headache in dealing with their flared gas as they are unable to connect it to the electricity grid given their remote location, and the inability to connect pipelines to dry processed gas. So by combining energy from flared gas with AI and Blockchain a lot of projects become viable and economically  attractive.”

For Han, Meer Energy will use 95% of the hashpower of its datacenters to mine Bitcoin, and use the remaining 5% to power high performance blockchain, and AI projects. He gives the example of carbon credits NFTs which will be mined directly from the datacenter. The datacenter will use smart contacts to monetize carbon credits into NFTs creating revenues of $1 million per month.  He explains, “Each Megawatt produced by a datacenter can produce 5000 carbon credits, nearly 1 million dollars in revenue alone , I call it your mining.”

Another example that HAN gives for utilizing datacenters is in the mining of CBDCs. As Han explains, “While countries in developing nations start to issue CBDCs they will face two issues either using private blockchains such as for example Hyperledger or public blockchains such as Ethereum, they will face issues of not holding hashpower of these blockchains, not having a stake in them. By utilizing datacenters on the sovereign ground of a country, central banks can utilize flared gas to power their own CBDC.”

So Han believes that while governments may not want to discuss Bitcoin mining they are interested in discussing how integrated datacenters can support blockchain use cases in combination with AI while affording a sustainable climate program using carbon credits.

According to Han, he is approaching MENA governments and investors with a new concept. While in the USA, Bitcoin is connected to Wall Street, in developing countries the government is behind it. 

As per Han today we are seeing a move towards de-dollarization in KSA, Russia, Iran, and UAE. He explains, “All governments will realize that strong money will drive weak money out of the system. In the 1970s crude oil and dollar were anchored together, but today we can have what I call gas Bitcoin or energy Bitcoin, which could replace the petro dollar.  The new possible global monetary system could be Bitcoin, utilized as a new global reserve system and settlement system. Those leaders with a vision and forward looking approach understand this. They by mining Bitcoin can have a share of a global decentralized banking system. This is one way to understand Bitcoin from a geo-political perspective. So when I speak to MENA policy leaders I don’t invite them to mine Bitcoin, I invite them to subscribe in shares to a decentralized global bank.”

Han believes this could be tested in for example NEOM city which is powered by Blockchain and AI, because in the city of the future there is also need for the governance of the future and this includes circulation of money. This according to Han could be tested in a controlled environment to see what happens.

Meer Energy is seeking to raise $5-6 million at a valuation of $40-50 million. During Han’s trip to KSA there was very positive feedback not only from investors but policy makers. Han states, “The concept was well received.” 

As for the future Han believes that his proposal allows Bitcoin mining datacenters to survive the halving of Bitcoin. He states, “By combining bitcoin mining with carbon credits regardless of what happens to the price of Bitcoin after halving whether it remains the same or goes up to $50,000 we will still be able to make revenues from carbon credits and will survive while other companies go bankrupt.”

He also believes that these datacenters can create smart contracts for Islamic economy whether related to Hajj, Sukuk and others.

According to the data provided by the Hashrate Index, bitcoin miners in the UAE should produce approximately 13 EH/s, which is equivalent to 3.7% of the total Bitcoin hash rate at an assumed average energy efficiency of 30 J/TH. This comes as the UAE becomes an attractive hub for crypto mining. 

Marathon Digital Holdings confirmed earlier in 2023 that the company along with Abu Dhabi based Zero Two (Registered name FS Innovation), an emerging blockchain and digital assets infrastructure development company, will be launching the two digital asset mining sites with a combined capacity of 250 Megawatts in the sustainability hub of Abu Dhabi Masdar City and the port zone of Mina Zayed by the end of 2023.

Marathon Digital Holdings in a recent press release has confirmed that the company along with Abu Dhabi based Zero Two (Registered name FS Innovation), an emerging blockchain and digital assets infrastructure development company, will be launching the two digital asset mining sites with a combined capacity of 250 Megawatts in the sustainability hub of Abu Dhabi Masdar City and the port zone of Mina Zayed by the end of 2023.

The joint entity registered in ADGM will work to accelerate the global digital economy while supporting the power grid of Abu Dhabi, JV) with the first large-scale immersion Bitcoin mining operations in the Middle East. To power the sites, Marathon and Zero Two intend to leverage excess energy in Abu Dhabi, increasing the base load and sustainability of the Abu Dhabi grid. Marathon and Zero Two will offset any non-sustainably produced electricity with clean energy certificates.

As per previous articles the equity ownership in the ADGM Entity will be 80% for Zero Two and 20% for Marathon.

To overcome desert climate environmental challenges, Marathon and Zero Two developed a custom-built immersion solution to cool the ASIC miners and implemented proprietary software to optimize their performance. The initial results of the pilot project, which include a significant reduction in the amount of maintenance required for the ASIC miners to effectively produce hash rate, indicate that operating immersion digital asset mining sites in Abu Dhabi is now feasible with the implementation of Marathon’s and Zero Two’s technological advancements.

The mining equipment and infrastructure required to build each site has already been ordered, and construction of both digital asset mining sites is currently underway. Once operational, these sites are expected to be among the most technologically advanced and energy-efficient digital asset mining operations globally. Based on the current construction schedules, both sites are expected to come online before the end of 2023, with a combined hash rate of approximately 7 EH/s.

“Our strategic alliance with Marathon marks a significant milestone for the blockchain and digital assets industry in Abu Dhabi,” said Ahmed Al Hameli, Chief Executive Officer of Zero Two. “This alliance leverages Zero Two’s regional expertise, expansive relationships, and growing blockchain infrastructure development and operational capabilities, with Marathon’s technical prowess in developing digital asset sites and innovative mining technologies. These synergies create a powerful combination and lay the groundwork for the success of this pioneering project in the Middle East. Marathon shares our commitment to actively supporting Abu Dhabi’s power grid and developing global digital assets infrastructure. We look forward to working with them on this venture.”


Fred Thiel, Marathon’s chairman and CEO, commented, “Our collaboration with Zero Two is a pivotal moment for Marathon and one that is consistent with our ethos of operating at the forefront of the technology curve and developing innovative technology solutions to advance the Bitcoin mining industry. For this project, our team successfully co-developed and implemented a full immersion solution, as well as developed proprietary mining software from the ground up to provide flexibility, resilience, and optimization. In Zero Two, we have found a valuable collaborator whose expertise in digital asset infrastructure development, and whose relationships in the region are an optimal complement to our team’s unique ability to build and implement innovative technologies. We look forward to working together to build the next-generation Bitcoin mining facilities in Abu Dhabi.”

News spread in May 2022 that Central African President Faustin Archange Touadera was travelling to the UAE to oversee the launch the crypto mining company. This came after Central Africa affirmed Bitcoin as a legal tender in the country.

The website African Intelligence was the news platform that mentioned the President’s visit to UAE on May 12th 2022. LeMonde News platform stated that due to lack of infrastructure in Central African state, the mining company for Bitcoin would be located in Dubai.  Nothing else was reported on this, and no official comments were made on this by UAE officials. 

This comes at a time when VARA (Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority) in Dubai UAE, stated that it would be regulating crypto mining operations. Already a sovereign wealth fund in Abu Dhabi is building one of the world’s biggest crypto mining farms with strategic advisors, Roland Berger. 

In addition US Crusoe Energy, which mines Bitcoin using wasted natural gas expanded into the Middle East specifically Oman and UAE after it received investments from UAE Based Mubadala, sovereign Wealth Fund in Abu Dhabi and Oman investment Authority. The total investment received by Crusoe was 350 million. Crusoe as per an article in CoinDesk will initially open an office in Muscat Oman followed by an office in Abu Dhabi.