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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.

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.

17 JAN 2017

High level discussions on energy collaboration between UAE

  • Saudi delegation led by Energy Minister His Excellency Khalid Al-Falih
  • VIP guests participated in bilateral talks aimed at expanding energy knowledge-sharing during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017
  • His Excellency Khalid Al-Falih says Saudi Arabia will collaborate with UAE and leverage on their experience in optimizing potential of renewable energy in driving mutual sustainable development agenda

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 14, 2017 – A delegation of senior government and business leaders from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was yesterday given a tour of Masdar City, before taking part in high-level discussions aimed at supporting knowledge transfer and collaboration on energy programmes.

The delegation was led by His Excellency Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of Saudi Aramco.

The visit was a part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Middle East’s largest gathering focused on addressing the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate change and sustainable development.

The delegation was welcomed by HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, and a number of Masdar’s executives.

“On behalf of the Kingdom we appreciate your spirit of collaboration and your willingness to support the growth and development of new and critical industries,” said HE Khalid A. Al-Falih.

“We are in Abu Dhabi because we have a great deal of admiration for the work this nation has done to deploy renewable energy and apply clean technologies. Through this dialogue, we will achieve mutual benefit in terms of process improvisation in together reaching the ultimate goal of positioning renewable energy prominently within the energy mix.”

He added: “Saudi Arabia is incredibly close to launching its National Renewable Energy Program’s first round of tendering, and believes this to be an ideal opportunity at the perfect time for the Kingdom to gain insights from UAE’s renewable energy experiences.”

HE Dr Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, said: “The UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have a deep-rooted and long-standing relationship built on collaboration and economic partnership. Among our many areas of common interest, we share the same ambitions for delivering a diversified energy mix that offers the most compelling commercial proposition for our economies. Today’s meeting during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was a valuable opportunity for us to discuss our goals, exchange ideas and explore avenues of collaboration that will enable us to achieve our objective.”

In a panel discussion the Saudi delegation outlined the Kingdom’s clean energy roadmap as part of the Vision 2030, which includes installing a number of renewable energy projects.

The panel also heard a presentation on the UAE’s recently-announced unified 2050 Energy Strategy.

Attracting more than 38,000 attendees representing 175 countries, including more than 80 government ministers, and 880 exhibiting companies from 40 countries, ADSW is the Middle East’s largest gathering focused on addressing the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate change and sustainable development.

17 JAN 2017

SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS Three school teams from Al Gharbia win Solar Oven Challenge

The winning teams in a school contest to build an electric oven powered by solar energy received their trophies and cash prizes at Shams Solar Power Company in Madinat Zayed yesterday.

Sixteen schools from Al Gharbia in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region challenged themselves over four weeks to create a safe, working oven powered only by the sun.

Grade 11 and 12 students competed in teams of four, with at least two of the team-members UAE nationals, and a budget of AED500.

The three winning schools who will be showing off their students’ solar-powered cooking technology at The Festival at Masdar City on January 20-21 are: Qatr Al Nada school from Madinat Zayed came in the 1st and 3rd place with two different teams; Al Baya school from Sila came in the second place.

Shams Solar Power Company, operator of the Shams 1 solar power plant, organised the “Solar Oven Challenge” to mark this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which takes place from January 12-21.

The winning team received a cheque for AED10,000. Second-place earned AED5,000 and the school in third received AED2,000. At least half of the winnings must go towards a school project.

To win the challenge, teams had to build an oven that could reach temperatures of between 150 and 200 degrees Celsius for at least one hour. They also had to be able to bake a dish for the judges to eat, and explain how their cash prize would be spent to help their class or school.

“We were amazed at the ingenuity of all the competing teams and extremely impressed that so many school teams took part,” said Abdulaziz Al Obaidli, General Manager of Shams Power Company.

“The Solar Oven Challenge was a fun way to raise awareness of the potential of renewable energy. And there was serious message too, because millions of people around the world don’t have access to reliable and affordable sources of cooking fuel. Solar-powered cooking technology if applied on a wide scale could transform the quality of life of countless people.”

15 JAN 2017

Global business and policy leaders gather for official opening

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 15, 2017 – Global leaders in government and business will gather for the official opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in the UAE capital tomorrow. Taking place on the theme “Practical steps towards a sustainable future”, this year’s ADSW is expected to receive 38,000 attendees representing 175 countries, including five heads of state, more than 80 government ministers, and 880 exhibiting companies from 40 countries.

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, hosted by Masdar, is a global platform addressing the interconnected challenges and opportunities of sustainable development, renewable energy and water security. Held every January under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the event is based on the key pillars of Policy, Leadership, Business, Academic Research, and Community Awareness.

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 began with two key policy events: the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum on January 12-13, held in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Energy, and the 5th General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, on January 14-15.

Tomorrow’s ADSW Opening Ceremony is immediately followed by the Awards Ceremony of the 9th edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The afternoon programme is dedicated to Abu Dhabi Global Action Day, a high-level conference aimed at turning the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into practical and innovative solutions in policy, investment, technology and partnerships – with a focus on the steps to be taken by both government and business.

The Opening Ceremony, Presidential keynotes and Global Action Day programme on January 16 will include five heads of state. Addressing delegates at the Opening Ceremony will be His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Also in attendance will be His Excellency Horacio Cartes, President of the Republic of Paraguay and His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka.

Keynotes will also be given by His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís, President of the Republic of Costa Rica; Her Excellency Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal; and His Excellency Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro. His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCE), will open Global Action Day.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “Having marked our tenth anniversary last year, we are proud to host ADSW as we embark on the next ten years of our success in the UAE and international markets. ADSW 2017 is one of the first global platforms to debate the outcomes of COP22 in Marrakech, and to take further action to adopt renewable energy, clean technologies and sustainable development following the ratification of the Paris Agreement. It is also a gateway to the opportunities of the Middle East & North Africa, today one of the fastest growing and most cost-competitive markets for renewable energy and clean technology.”

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week hosts the World Future Energy Summit, which this year marks its 10th anniversary, the 5th International Water Summit, and EcoWaste.

More than half of the exhibiting companies are small and medium sized business (SMEs) from leading clean-tech nations including Germany, France, Japan, the United States and the UK, further illustrating the commercial dynamism and growing maturity of the sector.

“ADSW 2017 will shed light on the practical steps needed to unlock further expansion of the renewable energy and clean technologies sectors, and to deliver sustainable solutions in water and waste,” added Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi of Masdar.

10 JAN 2017

President of Costa Rica to speak during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 10, 2017 – His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solis, President of the Republic of Costa Rica, will discuss the future of sustainable development and reflect on his nation’s success in adopting renewable energy during a presidential address during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017.

Costa Rica achieved a historic milestone when its electricity grid ran solely on renewable energy for more than 250 days in 2016, with a continuous 110-day stretch from 17 June until 6 October. This was the second time in two years that the country had been powered by renewable energy continuously for at least two months.

In a recorded address in advance of his attendance at ADSW, President Solis said: “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a true global forum that connects cultures, geographies and philosophical concepts. This creates strong synergies among political leaders, policy makers, business people and society as a whole in order to address today’s challenges in renewable energy and sustainable development. This is a key component of growth, the creation of job opportunities and the improvement of living conditions for younger generations.”

The Republic of Costa Rica has long been an advocate of renewable energy and environmental conservation, promoting their adoption in Latin America since the establishment of its geothermal laws in December 1976. The laws, which authorised the exploration of geothermal energy sources, were among the very first to drive the need for clean energy in the region.

Renewable energy sources supply 98 per cent of Costa Rica’s electricity demand, according to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the country’s state-owned utilities provider. More than 80 per cent of Costa Rica’s energy mix is comprised of hydroelectric power, with geothermal, wind and solar energy making up the rest.

Geothermal energy has the smallest greenhouse gas footprint per kilowatt of any power generation technology, according to the Geothermal Energy Association. With a string of hotspots, mountains and active volcanoes identified in Costa Rica, and the greater Latin America region, geothermal can play a critical role in delivering a clean, limitless and continual supply of energy in the country.

Home to Central America’s largest hydroelectric power project, the 305.5-megawatt (MW) Reventazón Dam, Costa Rica has a total renewable energy capacity of 2.5 gigawatts, according to the latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), headquartered in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

17 DEC 2016

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 targets new technologies in meeting

Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 17, 2016 – Ground water scarcity exacerbated by increased water demand due to population growth and the effects of climate change – droughts, higher temperatures – is a critical sustainability challenge for many regions of the world. The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) is no exception.

As the gap between water demand and availability in the Arabian Gulf widens, the pressure on desalination technologies to meet water consumption needs inevitably grows.

At the next Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), taking place from January 12-21, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar will present technical data from an innovative pilot programme that could pave the way for the commercial adoption of seawater desalination powered by clean energy.

The programme, which last month completed one year of operations, was announced at the inaugural International Water Summit (IWS) – one of the co-located exhibitions at ADSW – in January 2013.

It started with four small-scale desalination plants testing innovative energy-efficient desalination technologies; a fifth was launched in October this year, run by the French engineering company Mascara.

“The Mascara project uses reverse osmosis technology and is a showcase of an off-grid solution,” said Dr Alexander Ritschel, Head of Applications Development at Masdar’s Clean Energy division. “It can be operated independently, off-grid; it’s a 100% photovoltaics-powered desalination system. It also works without batteries and chemicals, so it’s a solution for remote locations.”

Mascara’s new plant produces 30 cubic metres of desalinated seawater per day, bringing the combined daily output of all five pilot plants in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi to 1,500 cubic metres. The other partners in the programme are Abengoa, Suez, Sidem (Veolia) and Trevi Systems.

Altogether, four companies are evaluating reverse osmosis technology, while the fifth is researching forward osmosis. Reverse osmosis is a more energy efficient alternative to the thermal technology currently used for large-scale seawater desalination across the Arabian Gulf.

Forward osmosis is still an emerging technology but could be a viable long-term solution for hard-to-treat water sources such as highly saline water (including certain groundwater sources in the UAE or the brine stream ejected by desalination plants) or water containing significant amounts of organic matter.

“The results of our pilot programme after one year are very encouraging; performance in terms of reliability has been very high,” added Dr Ritschel. “The programme is preparing the ground for the transition expected to take place over the next decade from integrated water-and-power-generation plants to standalone, membrane-based desalination facilities powered only by electricity.”

With many conventional desalination installations nearing the end of their operational life over the next few years, and with potable water consumption in MENA expected to increase from 42 cubic kilometres per year in 2012 today to 200 cubic kilometres by 2050, the opportunities to deploy more energy-efficient alternatives, commercially and at scale, are increasingly coming under the spotlight.

The technologies being tested in Masdar’s Renewable Energy Desalination Programme are up to 40%-less energy intensive than thermal seawater desalination, according to Dr Ritschel.

The practical steps needed to advance clean-energy desalination will be a key topic at the next International Water Summit in January, which will focus on the needs of the MENA region. Other issues on the conference agenda include water project financing, waste water strategies and recycling, smart infrastructure, and water in the urban environment.

In parallel with adopting more sustainable methods to produce drinking water, the UAE is rolling out initiatives to reduce water demand. Unveiled at IWS two years ago, the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi is implementing a “water budget” aimed at the more responsible management of the emirates’ finite water resources.

The “budget” is based on a combination of strategies including reducing waste, increasing the efficiency of irrigation technologies and methods (forestry, agriculture and landscaping alone consume more than 80% of Abu Dhabi’s water supply) and reducing utility subsidies for residential consumers.

“Abu Dhabi’s daily rate of domestic water consumption is about 563 litres per capita, still the highest in the world, and domestic water demand will more than double by 2030,” said Dr Mohammed Abdel Hamyd Dawoud, EAD Advisor for Water Resources, Environment Quality Sector. “The new tariff structure that has been introduced is helping to reduce this rate.”

“EAD is working with TRANSCO [Abu Dhabi Transmission & Despatch Company] in the Liwa strategic water reserve project [a five-billion-gallon aquifer made up of injected desalinated water], which will be completed this month,” added Dr Dawoud, who will address a panel on energy-efficient desalination in the Middle East at IWS 2017.

Today, Abu Dhabi’s available fresh groundwater resources stand at barely 0.5%, and water access is becoming increasingly stretched for around a quarter of the world’s population.

According to a World Bank report, the average person in the MENA region has only 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water available per year, compared with the global average of 7,000 cubic metres.

Concerns over water scarcity and the sustainability challenges associated with conventional seawater desalination methods are motivating greater collaboration to find workable, commercially viable solutions.

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar was a co-founder of the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance (GCWDA) at COP21 in Paris along with the French government and the International Desalination Association. Today, the Alliance has 141 members from dozens of countries.

At the COP22 international climate conference in Morocco last month, the GCWDA signed the Marrakech Declaration of Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWC) stipulating cooperation in three strategic areas: stakeholder mobilisation to secure a place for water in climate summits, negotiations and financial mechanisms; the exchange of lessons learned and existing best practices; and the identification and support for new actions.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the Alliance, His Excellency Michel Miraillet, the Ambassador of France to the UAE, said: “The Alliance is a benchmark for effective international cooperation, offering a multilateral platform for both government and the private sector to work together on policy and technical innovation.”

The Alliance will host its next board meeting at ADSW 2017.

24 NOV 2016

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 to convene first Advisory

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the Middle East’s largest gathering on sustainability, will host an elite group of industry experts to advise on the event’s continued success in translating the global mandate for renewable energy and clean technologies into concerted policy and business action.

Held every January, ADSW welcomes heads of state, government ministers and international trade delegations – among a diversity of other stakeholders – to address the world’s most critical sustainability issues on the themes of Policy, Leadership, Business, Academic Research, and Community Awareness.

The first ADSW Advisory Council will take place on January 17, the day after the event’s formal opening ceremony, and every year thereafter. It will also follow Global Action Day, a high-level event aimed at translating global aspirations for sustainability into practical and innovative policy, investment, technology and partnership solutions.

The Council’s membership comprises both international and Middle East-based opinion leaders, all long-standing supporters of and speakers at ADSW and in many cases, passionate advocates of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which distributes an annual prize fund of US$4 million to exceptional companies, individuals and schools implementing renewable energy and sustainability solutions.

The Council members are Adnan Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for SEforALL; Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi; Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency; Marie Jose Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council; Michael Liebreich, Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Board Member, Transport for London; David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Columbia University; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, The Earth Institute, Columbia University; Dr Saif Al Sayari, Acting Director General, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority; Dayae Oudghiri, Management Board Member of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN); Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future; and His Excellency Dr Nasser Saidi, Chairman of the Clean Energy Business Council.
ADSW 2016 received nearly 36,000 attendees representing 170 countries, 382 exhibiting companies, more than 200 high-level speakers and 80 government ministers.

“As a global platform for addressing the interconnected challenges of clean energy, water and sustainable development, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has developed lasting partnerships with many of the world’s most admired experts and opinion formers on sustainability issues,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company and the host of ADSW.

“As we mark ten years of the World Future Energy Summit in 2017 and embark on the next decade of our expansion at Masdar, it is an honour to bring together some of our must trusted associates in charting the future evolution of the MENA region’s largest sustainability gathering.

“The guidance of the ADSW Advisory Council, representing the broadest cross-section of the sustainability domain, will ensure that ADSW continues to set the action-agenda from both a policy and business perspective – this is particularly important now that the clean energy sector has moved from the margins into the mainstream as a dynamic, commercially viable growth market,” Al Ramahi added.

ADSW 2017 takes places on the theme ‘Practical Steps Towards a Sustainable Future’ from January 12-21. The opening ceremony will initiate four days of presentations, discussions and workshops on a range of pressing topics across energy, water and waste. These include strategies to drive investment, implementation of the Paris Agreement, and the challenges of adapting existing infrastructure to the new market reality of small-scale, distributed power.

“As a long-standing supporter of ADSW and a keen advocate of the UAE’s efforts to advance the clean energy agenda, I am delighted to deepen my involvement in ADSW, and to help chart the course of its continued success,” said Michael Liebreich, Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Board Member, Transport for London.

“Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s research has shown developing countries are overtaking the wealthiest economies in attracting clean energy investment, with the Middle East & North Africa playing a growing role. The global profile of ADSW is valuable in bringing emerging market opportunities to a wider stage, thereby enabling greater cooperation between developed and developing economies.”

ADSW 2017 will be the first global platform to debate practical approaches to the outcomes of COP22, the first UN climate summit to be held in the MENA region, with the agenda informed by the challenges of both emerging markets and developed economies, as well as the practical lessons they have learnt.

ADSW 2017 will also be an opportunity to reflect on the response to the Masdar Gen Z Global Sustainability Survey, unveiled at COP22, the first international study on the attitudes of 18-25-year-olds, the demographic cohort known as Generation Z, towards climate change, sustainability and renewable energy.

15 JAN 2016

World Future Energy Summit Launches Future Cities Forum for Global Insights on Middle East’s Urbanization

Delivering global insights and best practices for Middle East cities to sustainably manage their long-term urbanization, the World Future Energy Summit announced today the launch of the new Future Cities Forum.

The Future Cities Forum, on Wednesday, 20 January 2016, will be held on the theme of “Shaping the Urban Future Together: Creating Sustainable and Resource Efficient Communities”. Attendees can hear from leading global government experts on best practices in managing complex, long-term urban challenges and the latest innovations across energy, water, transport, urban planning, and mitigating climate change.

Sixty six percent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54 percent in 2014, according to the United Nations. To meet the challenges of urbanization, governments around the world are using advanced technology to develop Smart Cities, with Frost and Sullivan predicting a USD1.56 trillion marketplace by 2020. The Middle East and North Africa hosts among the world's most ambitious smart city plans, including Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, Qatar’s Lusail City, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s four Economic Cities, and Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca. Thanks to smart buildings, a pedestrian-focused layout and technology cluster, Masdar City consumes 40 percent less energy and water than built-up areas of a comparable size.

Masdar City recently inaugurated a solar power storage system with Energy Nest, and signed an agreement with Chinese real estate firm Vanke on a research and development project. “Masdar City is a ‘green-print’ for sustainable urban design – and what we will focus on at the Future Cities Forum is the need for global cities to integrate both environmentally friendly policies and commercial opportunities to drive sustainable development,” said Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City.

Smart Dubai is working with the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union to develop the world’s first smart city key performance indicators, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to generate 75 percent of power from clean energy over the next 35 years. “Dubai is undergoing a seismic shift in developing and encouraging smart city solutions – and at the Future Cities Forum we will focus on the power of public private partnerships, government innovation, and data-based analytics for smart buildings, transportation, and utilities that will support Dubai as a leading global smart city,” said Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office.

Atkins, the international design, engineering and project management consultancy, will share best practices from supporting the future-proofing of cities in the GCC, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. “With the population of the MENA region expected to double by 2050, at the Future Cities Forum we’ll be sharing our expertise which is helping to maximize the value of our clients’ built assets by ensuring they’re holistically planned, sustainable, resilient and appropriate for the long term, taking careful consideration of the drivers for change across the region, and how the resulting opportunities can be harnessed and risks can be mitigated,” said Simon Moon, chief executive officer, Middle East of Atkins.

“The tools and insights which are accessible to us today mean we’re able to develop a much better understanding of how buildings, infrastructure and their environment really do interact and perform, and to make well informed decisions to support their lifecycle – it’s essential that we apply this knowledge today for the benefit of our future urban and social environments,” added Simon Moon.

Many Smart Cities across the region are diversifying their energy mix to include renewables, especially solar power. “An approach to Smart Cities involves many aspects that will result in more sustainable urban living. From water and energy conservation to better use of public transport, more efficient air conditioning solutions and renewable energy generation are all part of a holistic plan to optimize the use of resources,” said Roberto De Diego Arozamena, CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services, which will be one of the key sponsors of the World Future Energy Summit 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

“A good example of such a plan is the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which includes the intention to have solar energy in every rooftop in Dubai by 2030,” added Roberto De Diego Arozamena.

Global consulting, design and program management firm C2HM, a WFES sponsor, will showcase its vision for smart, sustainable cities and infrastructure, and share best practices from its recent delivery experiences in the Middle East, India, and Europe. “At CH2M, our vision for future cities is based on creating vibrant, accessible, financially sound communities that attract business and provide a rich social fabric and environment where people want to live and work. As the competition between global cities increases, the need for talent, investment and resources will become critical,” said Neil Reynolds, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, MENA and India.

“More than ever, cities will need to focus on enhancing their economics, as well as the environment and the quality of life they can offer. Smart infrastructure is the key – whether transportation, water, energy or waste – and CH2M has the smart city solution that can help,” added Neil Reynolds.

The Future Cities Forum will also host the Habitat III Sustainable Energy Thematic Meeting, determining the policy agenda for the United Nations New Urban Agenda. Hosted by Masdar, The World Future Energy Summit 2016 is held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 18-21 January 2016, co-located with International Water Summit and EcoWASTE.