x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Abu Dhabi mulls wind investment

Masdar, the Abu Dhabi-owned clean energy company, is considering investing in wind power in the undeveloped market of the former Soviet bloc.

Masdar, a clean energy company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, is considering investing in wind power in the relatively undeveloped market of the former Soviet bloc.

Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar, did not specify which countries Masdar was evaluating in comments to Bloomberg News yesterday, nor did Masdar respond to requests for clarification.

"The potential in these countries is huge, however, largely untapped so far," said Stefan Gsanger, the secretary general of the World Wind Energy Association, based in Bonn.

Masdar joins a slate of international investors and large utility companies examining the region, where some nations have started to offer subsidies for renewable energy through green certificates or feed-in tariffs.

Whereas wind projects in western Europe are increasingly moving offshore, many of the former Soviet nations offer swaths of undeveloped land and less resistance from local residents to living near wind turbines.

"Quite a lot of land is undeveloped, so they can go for high-capacity projects, whereas in western Europe the better sites are, more often than not, taken," said Daniel Shurey, a European wind analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London.

"The attitude is different, too. They don't have this 'not in my backyard' attitude that a lot of western countries have."

Masdar has invested in wind through its minority stake in the London Array, a 1 gigawatt offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary that is under construction.

This year Masdar conducted pre-feasibility studies for a potential large-scale wind farm near the town of Al Sila in Al Gharbia, and it also plans to submit a proposal for a wind farm on Sir Bani Yas Island of up to 30 megawatts to Abu Dhabi's Executive Council.

UAE companies have made investments in other areas of the energy sector in the former Soviet Union bloc.

Dragon Oil,a producer majority owned by the Dubai Government, pumps crude primarily in Turkmenistan.

Masdar is working on an emissions-reduction project that cuts down on leaks from the gas pipelines of Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley.