|UAE invests US$15 Billion in Future Energy Solutions|
Environmental News Network
January 31, 2008
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are putting US$15 billion into an alternative
energy and clean technology initiative to establish itself as the regional and
global centre of future energy solutions.
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE,
announced the initiative at the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi,
last week (21—23 January).
The initiative will include projects targeting solar and wind power and hydrogen
fuel, and reduction and management of carbon emissions.
Amongst the projects is the establishment of the Masdar Institute of Science and
Technology, a graduate-level scientific engineering institution offering
PhD-level teaching as well as conducting research.
A US$250 million Masdar Clean Technology Fund will be dedicated to financing
renewable energy research projects conducted by private companies.
The fund will focus on the development and commercialisation of technologies in
renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management, water usage and
desalination, with a particular emphasis on technologies applicable to the
environmental conditions of the Middle East and North Africa.
The UAE are also establishing the Zayed Future Energy Prize to honour
individuals and organisations from throughout the globe for excellence in
innovation, development and implementation of sustainable energy solutions. The
inaugural prize will be awarded in 2009, with US$2.2 million awarded to three
winners each year.
All of the projects will be based Masdar city — the UAE's planned 'zero carbon
and zero-waste' city, due to open in late 2009.
"After realising that they have one of the highest energy consumption rates per
capita in the world, the UAE has finally started spearheading renewable energy
and energy efficiency projects in the region," says Wael Hmaidan, executive
director and head of the Arab Climate Campaign at IndyACT (The League of
Independent Activists) based in Lebanon.
But he added, "What we mostly lack in the Arab world is strong climate change
policy”? Adopting a strong climate change position with clear targets for the
global treaty is currently as important as investing in renewable energy and
energy efficiency, if not more. The UAE and other Arab states should urgently
adopt climate change policies that complement the UAE's technical initiative."