19 JAN 2017

Masdar appoints IFC to oversee funding of Jordans largest solar power project

Finance mandate letter signed today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 18, 2017 – Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has selected International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to oversee the funding of the largest solar power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a 200-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic facility being developed by the wholly owned Masdar subsidiary Baynouna Solar Energy Company (BSEC).

At Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week today, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi and Niall Hannigan, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Masdar, respectively, signed a finance mandate letter with Eric Becker, IFC Manager of Infrastructure for the Middle East & North Africa.

Today’s announcement follows the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) in October between Masdar and National Electric Power Company, Jordan’s state electricity provider.

“We are delighted to be working with IFC in the realisation of Jordan’s largest solar plant, further consolidating Masdar’s significant presence in the country,” said Niall Hannigan. “Our partnership with IFC will ensure that this landmark project will be developed according to the highest standards of financial best practice, while illustrating the strength of investor confidence in renewable energy.”

Expected to break ground later this year, the 200MW plant will be built 10 kilometres outside the Jordan capital of Amman. Once connected to the national grid, it will supply the annual power needs of around 110,000 homes and displace an estimated 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

“The Middle East and North Africa continues to face serious power shortages, and there is now even greater pressure on infrastructure services,” said Erik Becker. “We have been working with Masdar, a key partner, since 2013 and welcome this opportunity to further support the development renewable energy generation capacity across the region.”

The project follows the inauguration of the 117MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan in December 2015, the Middle East’s largest onshore wind power development. Masdar has a 31 per cent stake in Tafila with InfraMed (50%) and EP Global Energy (19%).

The combined output of Tafila and the Baynouna solar project will account for nearly 18 per cent of the 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy Jordan plans to install by 2020.

Masdar’s Clean Energy division is a leading developer and operator of utility-scale, grid-tied projects; applications providing energy access to communities away from the electricity grid; and carbon abatement projects. Since 2006, Masdar has invested in renewable energy projects with a combined value of US$8.5 billion; Masdar’s share of this investment is US$2.7 billion.

Masdar’s renewable energy projects span the UAE, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, Serbia and Spain. The electricity generating capacity of these projects, which are either fully operational or under development, is 2.7 gigawatts (GW) gross.

20 DEC 2017

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018 to focus on Driving the Global Energy Transformation

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: 20 Dec, 2017 – Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the next edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) will focus on ‘Driving the Global Energy Transformation’, it was announced today at a press conference to launch the event, which takes place from 13-20 January at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The transition to sustainable energy sources will transform the way we power our economies, cities and businesses, requiring the global community to come together to build partnerships, share knowledge and deploy large scale projects. ADSW 2018 will therefore address key global trends that are impacting the shift to sustainable energy: Climate Change, Urbanisation, and Digitisation.

In order to support the next stage of the global energy transformation, one of the focus areas during ADSW 2018 will be youth, including a dedicated Youth Panel after the Opening Ceremony on 15 January, the annual Student Exclusive, a Youth Circle which is being run in collaboration with Ministry of Youth Affairs, and the Student Ambassadors Programme. In addition, the Climate Innovation Exchange (CLIX), which is being held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, will provide emerging entrepreneurs and innovators with the chance to forge partnerships with leading global investors.

His Excellency Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, delivered a keynote speech at the press conference in which he stressed the importance of encouraging and inspiring future sustainability leaders.

His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said: "Focusing on the youth and involving them in all sectors has been an important and vital aspect in the UAE since its inception. This value had been instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and has been recognized by the wise leadership as one of its top priorities. This is also clearly evident in the effective involvement of youth in various jobs across the public and private sectors and their contribution in developing and implementing future plans."

"Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week reinforces the country's strong position in the clean energy, climate and environment sectors and highlights its efforts to develop local talent and attract global expertise to find effective solutions to the most important challenges facing the international community", His Excellency added.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi indicated that the CLIX forum is one of the key and most important platforms within the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which will provide a competitive environment that brings together investors and innovative entrepreneurs in an effort to boost partnerships and innovation, as well as transform creative ideas into reality.

"The invitation we had extended during the launch of the forum initiative last October has been very well received, where 312 candidates from 65 countries sent 364 submissions throughout the initiative. These submissions focused on three core issues: air pollution, innovation in agriculture and innovation in transportation. I’m especially proud to see that the bulk of these submissions came from the UAE, in yet another validation of a local environment that fosters excellence and innovation. Through CLIX, we aspire to unlock funding of AED 1.1 million for individual entrepreneurs, and AED 12 million for owners of group projects with business expertise", His Excellency elaborated.

Adnan Z. Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), told attendees at the press conference: “The world has entered into a new age of energy transformation driven by falling costs of renewables and their clear social, economic and environmental benefits. These trends, which will be highlighted at the upcoming Eighth Session of the IRENA Assembly, are proving that renewable energy is an engine for economic growth and job creation, which is of particular relevance at this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, given its focus on youth and development of the UAE knowledge economy.”

Also at the press conference, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), the host of ADSW, said: “The next edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will be historic because it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the tenth anniversary of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which was established in honour of his legacy. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will once again provide a global platform to harness knowledge, helping nations and communities address our shared sustainability challenges effectively, affordably and collaboratively.”

ADSW, one of the world’s largest sustainability gatherings, is aimed at enabling the global community to realise viable and effective strategies to mitigate climate change – at the heart of which is the global transformation to low carbon energy solutions. The shift will determine the way we power our economies, cities and businesses in the future, requiring the global community to come together to build partnerships, share knowledge and deploy large scale projects.

On its theme of ‘Driving the Global Energy Transformation’, ADSW 2018 will come following a year of further steep declines in the cost of renewables. Combined with advances in other technologies, such as battery storage and electric vehicles, the opportunities for the global community to adopt commercially viable solutions to mitigate climate change are stronger than ever.

ADSW 2018 will provide a unique opportunity to hear from global leaders and network with policy makers, thought leaders, decision makers, experts, scientists, business leaders and academics to discuss, debate and ultimately address the energy and sustainability challenges of the future.

The event will bring together trade delegations from across the world, including strong participation from major Asian economies such as China, India and Japan, which have emerged as global leaders in innovation and deployment of renewable energy and clean technologies. The topic of Easternisation will be among the major social, economic and environmental trends to be debated during ADSW 2018. Other key topics during the week will include mobility, sustainable cities, energy efficiency and sustainable water.

The week’s anchor event, the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), will host more than 600 companies from 40 countries. At the Eighth Session of the IRENA Assembly, government officials from more than 150 countries will gather to set the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition. ADSW 2018 will also see the return of important co-located events that promote a complete cycle of sustainability, including the 6th International Water Summit, held in partnership with Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), and the 5th EcoWASTE exhibition and conference, held in partnership with Tadweer, The Center of Waste Management in Abu Dhabi (CWM).

ADSW 2017 exhibitions and conferences hosted around 35,000 attendees from 175 countries. That represented a threefold increase since its inaugural edition in 2008, demonstrating the growth and maturity of the green economy, as well as the event’s success in supporting government and business to further advance the sector.

To learn more, visit www.adsw.ae or follow #ADSW and @ADSWagenda on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

19 JAN 2017

Second annual Student Exclusive gives youth a voice on sustainability

UAE and international students gather for talks, performances and presentations at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 19, 2017 – More than 600 students from the UAE and countries around the world took part in the second annual “Student Exclusive” at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) on Wednesday. Now a signature event of ADSW, the Student Exclusive is focused on empowering young people to think and act sustainably.

His Excellency Dr Ahmed Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, delivered the event’s keynote address, describing the Student Exclusive as integral to the success of ADSW.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem, by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Commenting on the success of the Student Exclusive, Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, also stressed the need for young people to take responsibility.

“The Student Exclusive is a platform that puts youth opinions at its core,” she said. “If we can empower young people to see how sustainability affects every aspect of their lives, then we can also empower them to be future advocates of sustainability.”

This year’s Student Exclusive was held on the theme “Creating a sustainable future by empowering young minds”.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Moderated by Khalid Al Ameri, a prominent UAE national journalist and social media influencer, and fellow Emirati Waheeda Al Hadhrami, Creative Talent Developer at TwoFour54, this year’s event hosted a diversity of young talent, who shared their own distinct perspective on adopting sustainable behaviour.

The Student Exclusive welcomed calligrapher Diaa Allam, pianist Mona Alhashmi, futurist Lina Nahhas, musicians “G-beat”, parkour coach Amal Murad, artist Hessa Al Ajmani, and singer Khalifa Nasser.

Hasan Al Redaini, the UAE’s representative to Solar Impulse 2, the first aircraft to circumnavigate the world powered only by solar energy, and two previous student winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize – from Cashmere High School in New Zealand and the Korean Science Academy of KAIST – also presented to the Student Exclusive audience.

The Student Exclusive also featured a presentation by Fatema Al Mulla, Marketing Executive at Masdar, on the findings of The Masdar Gen Z Global Sustainability Survey, the first global study of youth attitudes towards sustainability, renewable energy and climate change; a talk by Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Director of the Animal Health & Development Department at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on “The natural world and sustainability”; and a presentation on the sustainability narrative of Expo 2020 by Alya Al-Ali, Director for Youth, Expo 2020.

The final community awareness event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will be The Festival at Masdar City on January 20-21. Open to the public, The Festival will host sustainability-themed games and activities, live entertainment and food stalls.

19 JAN 2017

WiSER calls on women to be the drivers of innovation

UAE-founded initiative welcomes global experts to its second annual conference during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

18 January, Abu Dhabi: Leaders from government, business and academia yesterday convened in Abu Dhabi for the second annual Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) conference under the theme ‘Practical steps towards sustainable innovation.’ The event was organised by Masdar in partnership with the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The conference, a key event at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, sought to discuss the collaborative role that governments and businesses can play in fostering sustainable innovation, and the critical importance of including women in this dialogue.

Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, WiSER Programme Director, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “At WiSER, we seek to ensure that women are the drivers of change for a sustainable future, enabling them to positively impact innovation and breakthroughs in policy, technology and business. Today’s event helps us understand the way forward to achieving this goal.”

“With greater mentoring and collaborative opportunities, our knowledge of the issues that uniquely impact women can be harnessed to deliver sustainable growth and innumerable societal benefits. Innovation in sustainability is critical to our future prosperity, and women have a central role to play in this regard,” Dr Al-Hosany continued.

Established in 2015, WiSER is an initiative that comes at critical point for women’s participation in renewable energy and sustainability. Women account for just 35% of the workforce in the renewable energy sector, according to the latest IRENA Renewable Energy Jobs Review 2016. The report concluded that while sector has seen a rise in the number of women employed, female labour force participation is still lower than the general economy average experienced by OECD countries (40-45 per cent).

WiSER partners with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in order to create education and training opportunities for women of all ages. Since its launch on the side lines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly, WiSER has been active in developing partnerships with a number of strategic organisations.

Recently, WiSER held a high-level event with Momentum for Change at the UN Climate Conference in Marrekech, COP22. The event came under a joint “Momentum for Change: Women for Results” and WiSER partnership, a key pillar of the Momentum for Change Lighthouse initiative, and recognised activities that demonstrate the critical leadership and participation of women in addressing climate change. The collaboration is designed to further the role of women in sustainability, with a focus on knowledge exchange.

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute: “Creating opportunities for women in sustainability will allow us to unleash a wealth of knowledge and creativity within this industry. Particularly through our partnerships with private companies, Masdar Institute remains dedicated to nurturing the next generation of women to become sustainability leaders. Our public-private partnerships allow more women to gain the hands-on experience they need to join the ranks of innovators. With women playing an equitable role in the industry we can continue the momentum behind our transformation towards a fairer, more secure, and more sustainable future.”

The event in Abu Dhabi was designed as a platform so that participants could learn from experts who have dedicated their life to sustainability and furthering women’s participation in innovation. Speakers included: Graciela Chicilnisky, CEO and Co-Founder, Global Thermostat; Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office; Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute; Neha Misra, Co-founder and Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sisters; Dr Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting; Jonathon Porritt, Founding Director, Forum for the Future; Dr Joao Carlos, Secretary of Energy and Mining, Sao Paulo; Maher Ezzeddine, Chairman and President, Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Group; Dr Barbara Buchner, Executive Director, Climate Finance, Climate Policy Initiative; Jamila Bargach, Director, Dar Si Hmad; Moza Al Naimi, Masdar Institute Phd student, and Dr Laura Stachel, Executive Director and Co-Founder of We Care Solar.

In the UAE, there has been an emphasis placed on education and training as a way to ensure more women are working in sustainability. In the fall enrollment of students at Masdar Institute, 68 per cent of the UAE nationals were women. Over 70 per cent of the UAE government university students are now women and among post-graduates, UAE National women account for 62 per cent in government universities.

Dr. Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting: “Initiatives such as WiSER are critical if we want women to have access to the skills needed to be future leaders of innovation and sustainability. They also underline the leading role the UAE is playing in establishing platforms that place an emphasis on knowledge exchange and learning.”

Founded by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, WiSER aims to empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of commercial solutions that will address climate change and secure access to food, energy and water.