|GE Partners with Abu Dhabi Sovereign Fund to Boost Cleantech in Middle East|
Know Your Environment
July 29, 2008
The United Arab Emirates' bid to build the world's first zero-waste,
zero-carbon city will receive a major financial boost from General Electric Co.,
company Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said today.
In a joint announcement with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, CEO of the Abu Dhabi-based
sovereign fund Mubadala Development Co., Immelt said the companies will
establish a clean-energy technology center in UAE's Masdar City. Masdar, which
means "the source" in Arabic, will provide housing for at least 47,000 people
and an incubator for cleantech startups on just 3.7 square miles of land. The
walled city, slated for completion in 2015, would get its energy from the wind
and sun and produce zero net greenhouse gas emissions, project officials said
(Greenwire, June 28, 2007).
Masdar's GE-funded research center will house up to 100 technologists to develop
"sustainable" energy and water technologies. GE (NYSE: GE) has not yet
determined how much money it will invest in the center, a Mubadala spokesman said.
"This is a project that will be a home run," Al Mubarak said in a joint
interview with Immelt, which was podcast on GE's Web site. "It's going to
deliver most, if not all, of the objectives we have towards ... commercializing
renewable energy and making it an integral part of energy consumption around the world."
GE also plans to open a research center for its Ecomagination initiative at
Masdar, whose first buildings are slated to open by the end of next year. The
Fairfield, Conn.-based company also plans to commit up to $50 million in
Masdar's second cleantech investment fund. The fund's first $250 million
allocation has been invested in more than a dozen companies that specialize in
water purification, waste treatment, photovoltaic and transportation technologies.
For its part, Mubadala intends to invest up to $200 million in GE Industrial
Investment Partners, a new venture that will provide growth capital to the
energy, transportation and health care industries.
Immelt called commercial finance a centerpiece of the partnership.
During the next 12 months, GE and Mubadala plan to establish an Abu Dhabi-based
commercial financial services business that will focus on the Middle East and
Africa. Each company plans to allocate about $4 billion in equity for the
venture during the next three years, with a goal of generating $40 billion in
assets, Immelt said.
"This is an important part of the world, a place where we see a lot of growth
and opportunity," Immelt said. "The second thing is, we believe in technology;
this is a time when renewable energy, clean water and aviation are completely important."
Under the deal, GE and Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies -- Mubadala's leading
aviation maintenance company -- will explore ways to provide services for GE's
aircraft engines operating in the region.
In late-morning trading today on the New York Stock Exchange, GE's share price
was up 64 cents, or 2.3 percent, from the previous close of $27.69.