Abu Dhabi pushes back green energy goal to 2030

Oil-rich emirate delays 7% renewable energy target by a decade amid Masdar slowdown
Masdar, the cornerstone of the UAE capital’s clean energy plans, cut 9% of staff last year
By Bloomberg
Tue 17 Jan 2012 10:50 AM

Abu Dhabi plans to generate 7 percent of its domestic power
from renewable sources by 2030, a decade later than it originally expected,
according to the head of Masdar, the emirate’s alternative energy company.

Chief executive officer Sultan Al Jaber identified the
target as 2030, speaking to reporters today at the World Future Energy Summit
in Abu Dhabi. At the same conference three years ago, Al Jaber specified 2020
as the date for reaching this goal.

He didn’t provide an explanation for the 10-year change in
timing.

Masdar’s CEO also said today the company’s Shams 1 solar
plant will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of this year. Frank Wouters,
director of a company unit called Masdar Power, said on Nov 14 at a conference
in Dubai that the 100-megawatt facility would start operating in the third
quarter.

Abu Dhabi, the capital and largest emirate in the UAE, holds
almost all of the country’s oil reserves and is expanding the use of solar and
wind power in an effort to become a regional hub for renewable energy. Masdar -
including Masdar City, a project to develop a residential and business district
that would generate no carbon emissions - is a prominent part of the strategy.

The company cut nine percent of its workforce last year
after an annual business review. In 2010, it said it would build Masdar City in
stages and delayed the first phase by two years to 2015.

The company stopped work this year on a planned headquarters
building that would have been the world’s first to produce more energy than it
consumes, saying it would examine a different design.

Al Jaber said the cost of developing the city hasn’t
changed.

Masdar has set up joint ventures to invest in emission-
reduction projects that will produce carbon credits that can be traded under
the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism. Masdar’s investment funds have
about $450m under management for spending on clean energy projects.

In addition to its 100-megawatt Shams 1 concentrated solar
thermal unit, Masdar plans to build a 100-megawatt photovoltaic facility called
Noor 1. The company also wants to build a 30- megawatt wind turbine.

The United Arab Emirates is investing in alternative energy
as it seeks to free up more of its oil and gas reserves for export. The
fifth-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
is developing solar and wind power and has built a research university as part
of the Abu Dhabi government-backed renewable energy company Masdar. It is also the
headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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