Abu Dhabi to Focus on Renewable Energy

Alt Dot Energy
January 18, 2009

With the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) being hosted in Masdar, Abu Dhabi
next week (January 19 to 21) it is a clear signal that the Arab oil producing
states have now set their sights firmly on a renewable energy future. They are
moving away from being oil exporting states to energy exporting states. With the
aim of creating economies and an infrastructure to directly export energy from
where it is produced in the sun drenched deserts to where it is most needed in
Europe and to export energy technology to the rest of the globe.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber is the CEO of Masdar Initiative and in an interview with the
Khaleej Times said:

“Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas, with
sufficient reserves to last many generations, but now it is taking bold steps
to prepare for the world’s changing energy demands. Abu Dhabi also understands
the need to diversify its economy, providing fresh career opportunities to
nurture local talent. Masdar will play a role in this by helping to position
Abu Dhabi as an intellectual capital hub and ultimately an exporter of
advanced technology.”

The Masdar Initiative was launched by the UAE in April 2006 with the goal of
advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable and
alternative energy technologies and solutions. It is a key element of the Abu
Dhabi 2030 Plan and the Government of Abu Dhabi’s strategic policy framework.
Both of these policies share a vision that seeks to build a sustainable, open
and globally competitive economy.

The first annual World Future Engery Summit was held last year in Abu Dhabi with
the intention to debate, find solutions and create an open platform for global
cooperation to meet the growing energy demands and climate change challenges.
The second annual WFES is also being arranged by Masdar to bring together the
world’s leading innovators, educators, scientists, venture capitalists and
experts in the field of alternative and renewable energies.

One key objective of Masdar is to position Abu Dhabi as a world-class research
and development hub for future energy technologies, effectively balancing its
strong position in an evolving world energy market. In fact, Masdar City will be
home to the largest grid-connected solar power plant in the region.

There are also investments and partnerships being made in other kinds of
renewable energy, including wind. A significant stake has been taken in WinwinD,
a leading European turbine manufacturer. But solar remains key. In May 2008,
Masdar invested in a new company, Masdar PV in Erfurt, Germany. Masdar PV is
constructing a thin-film PV manufacturing facility, which, once complete, will
use advanced production technologies to bring PV closer to grid parity.
Construction of this facility is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of this year.

In addition to developing projects within Abu Dhabi, there are additional
projects with partners in other countries. Torresol Energy, a joint venture
between Masdar and Spanish engineering group Sener, has three solar power plants
under construction in Spain with an approximate combined value of $800 million,
one of which will be a CSP Central Tower Receiver System. The joint venture will
feature the first-ever commercial deployment of this technology by 2012.

Independent of Torresol Energy, Masdar is developing CSP plants in Abu Dhabi,
including the flagship project known as SHAMS 1 (“sun” in Arabic). Shams 1 is a
100 MW CSP plant in Madinat Zayed that uses parabolic trough technology and will
be scaled up to 2000 MW over time. The project will be the first of many CSP
plants that will feed green power into the Abu Dhabi grid. The project is
finalising bidders at this point in time, and the successful companies will be
named in March/April 2009.

The image is of Masdar Headquarters designed by Norman Foster. It will measure
1.4 million square foot cost about $300 million and have a roof covered in solar panels.


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