Held under the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show (DSS) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The milestone is a testament to the remarkable achievements made throughout its long and successful journey, which began in 1999.
The exhibition’s success over the years has gone beyond raising global awareness about the UAE and Dubai’s remarkable efforts in renewable and clean energy. It has also showcased the numerous achievements that have positioned Dubai as a global leader in preserving natural resources, achieving sustainability, and promoting a green economy. Moreover, the exhibition plays a crucial role in supporting global sustainability efforts by allowing participants and visitors to explore and obtain the latest innovations that align with these goals.
Known only as WETEX during its first edition in 1999, the event showed promise despite specialising solely in water management and conservation solutions. It laid a strong foundation for the exhibition’s growth and the expansion of its focus areas. In 2001, the event included the energy sector in its agenda, further diversifying its offerings. The 2004 session saw the addition of environment and waste management to its programme.
Renewable Energy and Green Buildings
In the 2008 edition, the event focused on green building solutions and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The exhibition’s agenda then expanded in 2011 with the addition of the ‘SmarTech’ exhibition, which provides modern and innovative solutions for displaying and marketing consumer products that save electricity and water, as well as building technology. The 2012 edition further expanded its agenda to include oil and gas technologies and clean and renewable energy sources, along with smart grids. The following year, the focus shifted towards fossil fuel technologies, including gas and oil exploration activities, extraction, refining, distribution, export operations, and the associated industries, consultants, contractors, and investors. The exhibition also highlighted the significant role of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
In 2014, WETEX coincided with the first Green Week and the first SmarTech Shopper, as well as the inaugural World Green Economy Summit (WGES). The 2015 edition of the exhibition included specialised seminars and also featured the Arab Oil and Gas Show. In 2016, the exhibition coincided with the first edition of the Dubai Solar Show, and also saw His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launch the World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) during the World Green Economy Summit.
With its growing global reputation, the 2017 edition saw the participation of 1,950 exhibitors from 50 countries, covering an area of 70,000 square metres. Additionally, specialised seminars on energy were introduced to expand participation. The following year, the exhibiting companies increased to 2,100 from 53 countries, and the exhibition area grew to 78,413 square metres. The edition also included seminars on sustainability, Dubai Solar Show, the Water Platform, the Innovation Segment and Innovation Platforms, which further enhanced the event’s quality and scope. WETEX & DSS 2019 featured 2,350 exhibiting companies from 56 countries, covering an area of 85,000 square metres and more notably, the event coincided with the International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress in Dubai.
The 2020 edition of WETEX & DSS took a distinguished step by organising the first 3D virtual edition of the event in the region. In addition, the Expo 2020 Dubai site hosted the organisation of the 2021 session of the event, which coincided with the launch of the 7th World Green Economy Summit at the same site. Furthermore, the 24th edition of WETEX & DSS held in 2022 showcased several advanced innovative technologies in water sustainability, water infrastructure, water treatment, desalination, purification, water flow control, wastewater treatment, and waste disposal, including extracting water from the air.
A Promising Tomorrow
The 2023 edition, organised under the theme, ‘At the forefront of sustainability’, holds significant importance as it coincides with the Year of Sustainability in the UAE. It also aligns with the UAE’s preparations to host COP28 at Expo City Dubai. Additionally, DEWA’s organisation of the first session of the Middle East and North Africa Solar Conference 2023, in conjunction with the exhibition, aims to attract more experts and researchers in the clean and renewable energy field. This conference is the first of its kind in the region, focusing on photovoltaic systems.
In addition to exhibitors from over 62 countries displaying the latest in energy, technology and innovation, this year’s edition has also charted an impressive expansion in its thematic areas, encompassing sustainable cities, electric vehicle infrastructure, and sustainable financing, among others. Attendees and delegates can immerse themselves in a plethora of seminars that provide insights into these freshly incorporated sectors. One of the notable features of this year’s event is the broadened segment of audience interaction platforms such as the leadership roundtable, innovators lab, and the Emaar Sustainability Hub. National pavilions have also registered substantial growth, welcoming new participants from countries such as Argentina and France, in a testament to the global appeal and significance of the event.