(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 4th May 2021 (WAM) - This month, Masdar, Abu Dhabi's flagship renewable energy company, is celebrating 15 years of pioneering clean energy solutions, technology innovation and sustainable urban development in the United Arab Emirates and across the world.
To mark this important milestone, Masdar has launched "For A Sustainable Future", a campaign that showcases its progressive and continuous climate impact journey. Since it was established in 2006, Masdar's mandate has been to support the UAE's leadership role in the global energy sector, while also supporting the nation's economic diversification, and climate action agenda.
Today, Masdar is active in more than 30 countries, and while COVID-19 has disrupted markets around the world, the company continues to expand. The total capacity of the renewable energy projects that Masdar is involved in has more than doubled over the past two years, from 4 gigawatts (GW) to more than 11 GW – enough electricity to power more than 4 million homes – with a combined value of US$19.9 billion. Targets to double total capacity again have already been set by Masdar's ambitious management team.
"Guided by the future-focused vision of our nation's leadership to develop a resilient and sustainable economy, Masdar continues to build on its strong history of driving innovative renewable energy solutions for the UAE and around the world," says Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. "Today we are leaders in clean energy and sustainable real estate and proudly celebrate 15 years of continuous climate action."
Masdar has contributed to reinforcing Abu Dhabi's position at the forefront of clean technology for climate change mitigation.
In the UAE, Masdar has made a significant contribution to the country's renewable energy targets, playing a key role in expanding the country's portfolio 400 percent in the last decade – including developing some of the world's largest projects, such as the Al Dhafra project in Abu Dhabi, alongside partners like TAQA and EDF Renewables.
Masdar is also looking to technologies of the future – including hydrogen. Indeed, Masdar was exploring hydrogen as a clean energy source as far back as 2008: fast forward to 2021, and Masdar has committed to developing a hydrogen demonstrator in Masdar City, a global green print for sustainable real estate.
A first of its kind for the region, the demonstrator plant will be jointly developed in partnership with Abu Dhabi's Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Siemens Energy and Marubeni Corporation to produce green hydrogen and sustainable fuel/e-kerosene production.
As Masdar's Al Ramahi says, "Green hydrogen has the potential to become the primary fuel for a clean economy in the future and will be key in changing carbon removal strategies as the world looks to achieve climate-related goals and build a more sustainable future."
For Masdar, sustainability is also about more than just advancing clean energy. In 2008, the company broke ground on Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's flagship sustainable urban development.
A pioneering community with a rich history in research and development, Masdar City is spearheading the technology to realize greener and sustainable urban living.
No wonder that when John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, visited the UAE earlier this month, Masdar City was one of the first destinations on his itinerary.
A vibrant commercial cluster, Masdar City also continues to attract new businesses, with over 900 companies finding a home in the Free Zone and leaders like Siemens Energy setting up regional headquarters in the area.
As an incubator of innovation, Masdar City is also home to The Catalyst, a joint venture between Masdar and BP. Set up in Masdar City's Technology Park, The Catalyst is the first start-up accelerator in the MENA region dedicated to sustainability.
Additionally, Abu Dhabi Holdings (ADQ) launched last year an AED 1.1 billion venture fund to support early stage businesses to set up their global or regional headquarters in Masdar City, enabling them to benefit from the City's exceptional innovation ecosystem, as well as supporting regulations and other R & D initiatives.
This year also saw the Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence – the world's first university for AI – welcome its first batch of students.
As an international green-print for urban development, the City has one of the largest clusters of low carbon buildings in the world. All buildings in Masdar City are designed to reduce energy by at least 40 percent compared to local standards and reduce water consumption by at least 40 percent in accordance with local green building standards.
Masdar is leveraging this sustainable development to launch the UAE's first sustainable real estate investment trust – the first "green" REIT. The Masdar Green REIT has been established at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) as a Qualified Investor Fund (QIF) and offers an attractive opportunity for professional investors through private placement to invest in a unique portfolio of stable, income-producing sustainable real estate assets.
Masdar has announced projects in a number of new markets, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Australia, and the United States, in recent years.
In Australia, Masdar acquired last year a 40 percent stake in the country's second utility-scale waste-to-energy facility. When completed, it will process 300,000 tonnes per year of non-recyclable municipal, commercial and industrial waste and up to 30,000 tonnes of biosolids each year.
In the US, the world's second-largest renewables market, Masdar acquired a 50 percent stake in a 1.6 GW clean energy portfolio with EDF Renewables North America last year. In total, the eight projects in the portfolio have created more than 2,000 jobs and will displace more than 3 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
In Central Asia, Masdar is developing both solar and wind projects in countries including Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.
In Southeast Asia, Masdar has led the development of the region's biggest floating solar PV power plant, and the first of its kind for Indonesia. The 145 MW (ac) plant, upon completion, will power 50,000 homes and offset 214,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Building on the historic Abraham Accords, Masdar also signed an agreement with EDF Renewables to explore renewable energy opportunities in Israel in support of the country's clean-energy objectives.
Masdar champions sustainability through strategic initiatives designed to support women and youth. The Women in Sustainability, Environment, and Renewable Energy (WiSER) platform has a mandate to promote female inclusion in sustainability through partnerships, thought leadership, and knowledge sharing between inspirational women around the world.
Masdar also leads the Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) platform, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office. Y4S prepares sustainability professionals of the future by conducting a series of programs throughout the year, including Sustainability Ambassadors and Future Sustainability Leaders.
Promoting community engagement on sustainability issues is a focus of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), hosted annually by Masdar. Attracting industry thought leaders, leading sustainable institutions, and tens of thousands of attendees, ADSW is today the world's leading platform for accelerating sustainable development. The platform reached another landmark this January, when it hosted one of the world's largest virtual sustainability gatherings.
ADSW is also synonymous with the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE's pioneering global sustainability award, whose recipients have positively impacted over 352 million people through their projects and solutions since the Prize's first presentation ceremony in 2009.
"The achievements of the company over the past 15 years are only the beginning, especially in light of the current challenges facing the world as well as the opportunities arising from increasing focus on sustainability. Masdar will continue leveraging the technological, engineering, commercial and other skillsets it has acquired to lead the sustainability sector for many years to come," says Al Ramahi.