x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Masdar City revises completion date

The deadline has been pushed back up to nine years to take advantage of advanced technology.

The final completion of Masdar City, the carbon neutral development at the edge of the capital, has been put back by up to nine years to make use of advances in technology and account for a slowdown in the property market, executives said yesterday.

The findings of a 10-month review of the project were grounded in lessons the company had learnt over the past three years, said Sultan al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar, which is wholly-owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.

"Masdar City is going to be fully developed and delivered, but we are going to do it in a very smart way," he said during a tour of the Masdar Institute campus, which opened last month and boasts six carbon-neutral buildings and a driverless electric transport system. "This model we are going to share with the world is going to be technically feasible and commercially viable, otherwise it will do no good for the rest of the world."

He said the vision of the city as a carbon-neutral, zero-waste city with 50,000 residents had not been "scaled back or scaled down". "Everything stays intact, changing that vision is way above my pay grade," he said. The city as a whole was originally intended to be completed by 2016 but that date has now been pushed back to between 2020 and 2025. The new plan for the city includes significant design changes. Alan Frost, the director of Masdar City, said that after the completion of the first stage in 2015, additional stages would not feature the driverless electric vehicle system. Neither would they be built on a platform 7.5 metres above the ground.

He said the city would not now build a large waste-to-energy plant on site. It would import carbon-intensive desalinated water from Abu Dhabi, he said, but its carbon-neutral status would be retained by exporting electricity produced from solar power to the Abu Dhabi grid. "What we learned is it's going to take more than a decade to build a sustainable city," Mr Frost said.

cstanton@thenational.ae