UAE Diverts Oil Money into Alternative Energy

Masder city

According to BNews Rising from the desert outside Abu Dhabi, Masdar city is laying the groundwork for when the United Arab Emirates’ oil wells run dry.

Driverless electric cars shuttle between energy-saving buildings topped with arrays of solar panels.

Traditional Arabic architecture mixes with modern technology, as narrow shaded alleys run between brick-coloured buildings, focusing the wind and keeping temperatures low.

On the edge of the complex, a 10-megawatt solar farm lined with photovoltaic panels provides clean energy.

First announced in 2007, Masdar city in the suburbs of Abu Dhabi has not yet become the city of 40,000 authorities promised, with only a few hundred people, mainly students, in residence.

But the complex — which hosts the International Renewable Energy Association Agency (IRENA) and the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology — is at the forefront of the UAE’s efforts to focus on renewables.

The company that bears its name has invested huge sums on green energy an unusual move for a country better known as an oil and gas producer and exporter.

Sitting on 5.9 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 3.1 percent of its natural gas, the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, is a key player in the global energy market.

The discovery of commercial quantities of oil in the UAE in the late 1950s transformed the area, turning a few pearl-diving towns wedged between the Gulf and the desert into an economic powerhouse.

But its rulers know the oil won’t last forever, with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan warning earlier this year that the country’s last tanker load will be exported in 50 years.

 

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