Masdar City: What Renewable Energy Should Strive For
When the 2010 World Future Energy Summit opened this week in Abu Dhabi, one of the primary goals of this year’s conference was to find more ways to rid the United Arab Emirates and other Middle East countries off their dependence on petroleum as a major energy supplier.
The four day conference opened Monday, January 18 in Abu Dhabi’s convention center, and is being hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy and sustainability initiative.
“Abu Dhabi has always strived to be an open global platform for collaboration to promote the adoption of renewable energy and climate change mitigation. With the growing success of the World Future Energy Summit and the International Renewable Energy Agency in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi is quickly becoming the renewable energy hub for both businesses and governments.”
Green Prophet covered last year’s event (the WFES for short), as well as events leading up to this year’s Summit; and all indications show that this year’s conference will be even better, with more than 100 speakers (some of them heads of state) and 3,000 delegates.
The Summit began the day after the meeting of the newly-formed International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) headquartered in the Emirates; with representatives from 139 member states, including China and Israel. Israel’s delegation included Environmental Minister Uzi Landau, who, together with his country’s delegation, visited Abu Dhabi for the first time recently.
The long list of speakers includes Bertrand Piccard (left), President of Solar Impulse and an internationally renowned lecturer. He will be presenting his project to fly around the world in a solar airplane.
Since the primary goal of this year’s Summit is to find ways in which the UAE, a major player in OPEC (which controls 40% of the world’s petroleum supplies ) and is still heavily dependent on oil to supply the power for electricity needs as well as fresh water from desalination; can use more renewable sources, especially for projects such as its environmentally sustainable and carbon neutral Masdar City.
One of these projects, according to an article in the Zawya Dow Jones/Abu Dhabi financial website, is a planned investment of $23 billion for building the region’s first nuclear power plants. It is also investing heavily to build the environmentally friendly urban area, Masdar City, on which construction began in February, 2009, and is expected to be completed in 2016.
Nuclear energy, while considered as a “cleaner” fuel by some energy experts, is still said to be very problematic as well as dangerous. Nuclear power plant contamination from leaks and even core “melt downs” have been the subject of past horror stories, the most serious of these being the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine back in 1986.
With all the various forms of renewable energy being touted at the WFES summit, including solar, wind, thermal, and wave energy, it seems like a non-starter that countries in the UAE, as well as other countries in the region (including Jordan) should be considering nuclear energy as a major source of power.
Perhaps some new ideas from this year’s summit will enable Abu Dhabi and other regional countries to use solar and other renewable energy sources to furnish the power they need.
Photo via www.masdarcity.com
More on the World Future Energy Summit and and renewable energy:
Dubai and Persian Gulf States Look to Renewable Energy
World Future Energy Summit 2010
Jordan Explores Nuclear Fuel Option Despite Alternative Energy Plans