Background – In the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency Germany is recognized as one of the world's leaders. On the other hand, UAE has made great strides in the past few years and has positioned itself as a leader in the Gulf and the MENA region, more specifically in the solar energy field.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the strategies and policies implemented to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7; namely, To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all with a specific focus on public policy on renewable energy and energy efficiency in both Germany and UAE. This comparative analysis can assist in highlighting what the UAE can learn from Germany in terms of their energy strategy in order to accelerate the movement towards a clean and efficient energy economy.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a case study approach analysing qualitative and quantitative data from secondary sources including government reports and international agencies focusing on renewable energy, along with peer-reviewed journal articles, media reports, and speeches delivered by leading political figures and industry experts. To assist in the qualitative evaluation of public policy on energy in Germany and UAE, the six policy design principles proposed by Daly and Farley (2004) are used to evaluate the progress of each country.
Findings – Findings reveal that both Germany and UAE are making a significant progress in achieving SDG 7 through their policies to expand renewable energy and their energy efficiency efforts. However, it is evident that Germany is making more significant progress mainly due to its efforts being structured. In UAE, meanwhile, the targets are driven by declared government plans and strategies but without a structured policy in place. Moreover, these strategies differ from city to city, most of the progress being attributable to Dubai and Abu Dhabi; the other emirates lagging behind somewhat. Therefore, energy policies must be context specific and tailored to the political, economic and social circumstances of a country in which they are to be applied. The target of UAE is ambitious but can be realised through clearly defined and structured policies tailored specifically to the country's needs.
Research limitations – The limitations of this research lie primarily in the methods used. A primary source for data collection (specifically in UAE) such as transcripts from interviews with government officials would provide a clearer picture of the government's agenda and the prospects for effective implemention of future policies.
Originality/value – The academic literature on public policy for renewable energy in the GCC region is quite sparse, and there is value in documenting progress since the launch of the SDGs in 2015 which has put clean firmly on the political agenda all around the world.
Keywords: renewable energy, SDG 7, Germany, UAE, sustainability