Gulf Oil State Invests $15 Billion in Alternative Energy

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The Arab oil state of Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, has announced plans to spend over $15 billion on green energy.

abu dhabiAbu Dhabi, photo by GC

The $15 billion is meant to finance the first phase of the country’s green energy plans, as well as help build the world’s largest hydrogen power plant. The plan is part of what is known as the Masdar initiative, a plan to develop sustainable energy within the oil exporting state. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan announced the initiative at the World Future Energy Summit, recently hosted in Abu Dhabi.

He said: “I would like to underscore the government of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the Masdar initiative by announcing an initial investment of $15 billion. Next month ground will be broken on Masdar city, the world’s first carbon-neutral city.”

The plan is overseen by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy company, also known as Masdar. The funds will help create infrastructure for the country, renewable energy creation, and manufacturing. They hope to ensure that Abu Dhabi becomes a leader in the new energy market as well as the old.

Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said the initiative will also create a zero carbon, no waste city in the deserts around Abu Dhabi. It will have up to 15,000 inhabitants. He said: “”Achieving a zero carbon city is doable.” Jaber also said the project will create a hydrogen power plant capable of producing 500 megawatts of electricity, making it the largest plant of its type.

The project will be a joint venture between Masdar, BP, and Rio Tinto, with Masdar owning 60% of the project. The final designs will not be finished until the end of the year, but one plan consists of developing carbon capture and storage units that will pump captured greenhouse gases into the country’s oil fields. Currently, natural gas is used to force oil out of he oilfields so it would allow that resource to be saved. This will theoretically reduce emissions while simultaneously raising oil output, although it is commercially unproven.

This is just one of several alternative energy initiatives announced by Abu Dhabi in recent weeks. Earlier this month the emirate signed an agreement with France to develop nuclear energy in the country. Sheik Mohammed has also announced a $2.2 million annual prize, the Zayed Future Energy Prize, to promote energy innovations.

Source: Reuters

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