K.T. Abdurabb, Arab News
Tuesday 22 January 2008
Last Update 22 January 2008 12:00 am
ABU DHABI, 22 January 2008 — The Abu Dhabi government yesterday announced an ambitious sustainability program ever launched by a government — an initial investment of $15 billion project to develop green energy and build the world’s largest hydrogen power plant.
The investment would be part of the Masdar initiative, set up to develop sustainable and clean energy, said Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed ibn Zayed Al-Nahyan during the inaugural session of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) which is currently on in the capital.
“I would like to underscore Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the Masdar initiative by announcing an initial investment of $15 billion,” he said. “Next month ground will be broken on Masdar city, the world’s first carbon neutral city,” he added.
”The emirate was strongly committed to striking a balance between meeting the world’s energy demand while at the same time persevering the environment for future generations.
WFES is the world’s largest and the first of its kind conference and exhibition to address the importance of global energy conservation and environment.
Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, CEO, Masdar, said: “For nearly half a century, Abu Dhabi has used its natural resources to contribute to growth, development and security — our own as well as that of other countries.”
“Today, as global demand for energy continues to expand and as climate change becomes a real and growing concern, the time has come to look to the future,” he continued. The cash will go into infrastructure, renewable energy projects such as solar power, and manufacturing, all aimed at positioning Abu Dhabi as a leader in the global clean energy market, said Sultan Al-Jaber.
The project includes plans to build a zero carbon, zero waste city of up to 15,000 residents in the desert in the first quarter of this year. Abu Dhabi would also build the world’s largest hydrogen power plant with 500 megawatts of capacity, Jaber added. The $15 billion Masdar commitment will be directed to investments, manufacturing future energy solutions, education and R&D, carbon management, sustainable development & planning, and renewable energy infrastructure projects
Sheikh Mohammed also announced the establishment of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, with an annual prize pool of $2.2 million, designed to reward achievements in energy innovation.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize will be awarded to three individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions in the global response to the future of energy.
The winner of the prize will receive $1.5 million; two additional finalists will be awarded $350,000 to take their ideas and ambitions forward.
The criteria for the prize and the process for nominations will be developed by the jury and the inaugural prize will be awarded in 2009.