UC Berkeley to begin educational partnership with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority

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UC Berkeley will begin offering courses to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, or DEWA, employees as part of a $40 million educational partnership beginning June 1, according to a College of Engineering press release.

UC Berkeley has created specialized courses on the latest advancements in technologies relating to modern infrastructure systems, particularly electricity and water, for DEWA engineers. The campus will receive about $40 million from DEWA during their five-year partnership, which was confirmed May 3, according to the press release.

“Dubai has a mission to be completely reliant on green energy,” said Tarek Zohdi, a UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering and the academic director of the UC Berkeley-DEWA educational partnership. “They are a model for how to be.”

According to Zohdi, DEWA’s Master of Future Energy Systems and Technology degree program decided to work with UC Berkeley because UC Berkeley most closely matched DEWA’s outlook. Other schools worldwide, including Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also applied to work with DEWA.

As DEWA is the exclusive provider of electricity and water in Dubai, the educational partnership will help Dubai reach its goal of producing 75 percent of its power output from clean energy sources by 2050, according to DEWA’s website. Currently, Dubai has the largest single-site solar park in the world, which will generate 1,000 megawatts by 2020 and 5,000 megawatts by 2030 and will reduce more than 6.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to DEWA’s website.

Zohdi said many of the courses that were developed for DEWA’s engineers will also be available to UC Berkeley graduate students and that the partnership is a big win for the campus both intellectually and financially. The partnership will also bring more female engineers to campus, as about half of the incoming DEWA students are women.

The program is designed for those interested in advancing their professional careers, according to the press release. Zohdi said the program does not offer a master’s degree from UC Berkeley.

UC Berkeley has designed courses in modeling and simulation, machine learning algorithms, optimization, controls and statistics, according to the press release. Zohdi said classes focus on energy conversion, energy storage, and energy distribution and its relation to water management.

ASUC Senator-elect Media Sina said in an email that it is the beginning of a “fantastic partnership” and that Dubai must adopt sustainable, forward-thinking strategies given its dedication to building a technologically advanced society. She added that Dubai is moving forward “wisely” because UC Berkeley is equipped with the latest research and data.

“They set a high bar for many other developed countries, including our own, which still await modernizing their energy sectors,” Sina said in an email.

Contact Brennan Havens at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @BrennanHavens.