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.
The new collaboration will be a program of Scotland’s Energy Technology Partnership, an alliance of 12 Scottish universities engaged in energy research. With around 250 academics and 600 researchers, the ETP is the largest, most broad-based power and energy research partnership in Europe. Salmoud signed the deal during the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The conference, which attracted more than 26,000 attendees in its fifth year, is an annual gathering of world leaders and thinkers committed to promoting advancement in renewable energy.
“It is clear that the work Masdar is taking forward on leading us to a low carbon society is in perfect synchronization with the work we are doing here in Scotland,” Salmond said. “This is the first agreement of its kind between Masdar and an individual nation and will work towards developing further university research into renewable energy. This landmark deal rightly puts Scotland firmly at the forefront of the green energy revolution and I look forward to this relationship between Scotland and Masdar growing and delivering for all our global futures.”