The company responsible for the “city in the desert” is partnering with the most renewable-energy focused country in Europe: Scotland. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week to sign an agreement with the Abu Dhabi-based Masdar corporation to formally collaborate on developing “green energy products.”
Abu Dhabi is home to 8 percent of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is one of the 10 largest oil companies in the world. But the UAE is emerging as a green building and renewable energy leader, thanks, in large part, to Masdar. The agreement is the first of its kind between Masdar and an individual country, and could mark the beginning of further collaboration between Europe and the Middle East on renewable energy research and development.
Abu Dhabi has invested billions of dollars into developing Masdar, a subsidiary of the government-owned corporation Mubadala, with a unique vision and structure. Masdar consists of five “units” that engage in renewable energy project development, green-tech capital investment, carbon management and capture and storage, and research and education (through the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology). The units are all in Masdar City, a clean-technology development in Abu Dhabi that is aspiring to be the most sustainable city in the world.
The six-square-kilometer project, started in 2006, is a low-carbon city designed ultimately to house 40,000 people. Expected to be fully operational around 2025, the city will use electric vehicles for personal and public transit, and all of its electricity will be generated from large-scale photovoltaic (PV), wind and geothermal power. Salmond met with the company’s CEO, Sultan Al Jaber, and toured Masdar last year.