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Thu 25 Mar 2010 04:06 AM

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Masdar to go slow on North American green power

Energy firm exploring US and Canadian markets, but 'not in a hurry' - CEO.

Masdar to go slow on North American green power
TAKING TIME: Abu Dhabis Masdar said that while North America remains an attractive market, the company would take its time deciding which projects to pursue. (Getty Images)

North America's renewable energy market is an attractive target, but Abu Dhabi's Masdar Power will take its time deciding which projects it will pursue, the company's associate director said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of Globe 2010, an environmental business conference in Vancouver, Frank Wouters said: "We're not in a hurry. We're always looking for quality rather than quantity and speed."

Masdar Power, a unit of Abu Dhabi state owned green energy firm Masdar, currently has no projects in Canada or the United States, having kept its investments to Europe and the Middle East.

Wouters said: "We're looking at the US market and the Canadian market for investments in solar and wind, we're exploring right now."

Wouters said it will be important for Masdar Power to team up with companies that have similar business models and have the local political knowledge needed for any renewable energy projects to be developed.

He said: "In that respect, I would rather take my time looking for a good partner who will make life a lot easier in the way going forward."

Masdar has so far focused on technologies of concentrated solar power, which uses mirrors or lenses to to focus sunlight to heat water for steam generation, and photovoltaic, which produces electricity through solar cells, as well as on offshore wind power generation.

It is not interested in other renewable energy technologies such as biomass.

Wouters said: "It's not that we have anything against them ... but there is only so much that we can do, and it has to be relevant, to some extent, for Abu Dhabi."

The Masdar group is probably best known for its plans to build a carbon neutral city in Abu Dhabi, a project Wouters told the conference will help it develop new environmental technologies.

Masdar's venture capital unit is also pursuing potential investments in clean energy technologies. Its first fund is fully deployed at $250 million, and the second recently closed at $265 million.

Wouters added: "We can expand to $750 million over the next year so it is going to be a substantial venture capital fund, and there are options for that." (Reuters)

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