x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Masdar and Scotland plan partnership in energy research

Masdar will sign a deal with the Scottish government for future research plans.

ABU DHABI // The alternative energy company Masdar yesterday agreed to draw up plans for a partnership with Scotland that will boost university research into renewable energy sources and promote other initiatives.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Masdar's chief executive, put forward the idea during a meeting with Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, who visited Masdar City on the first day of a trip to the UAE.

Mr Salmond agreed to the proposal, and said: "I think this will yield great results for Abu Dhabi, great results for Scotland, and I do believe it will lead to significant advances that will benefit this entire planet. That's the importance of what's been talked about today."

Details of the deal will be drawn up by Masdar and Scottish Enterprise, a government agency, with a view to an agreement being signed in January.

"Dr Al Jaber insisted to me that he doesn't want just a memorandum of agreement, he wants a framework for action," Mr Salmond added. "He's looked at two areas in particular: cooperation over research into renewables technology between universities, and direct investment and partnerships for specific projects.

"This is the first time Masdar will have had an agreement with a government agency - a country. Masdar's previous agreements have been with individual companies, so this is quite a breakthrough for us both."

Dr Al Jaber said: "Masdar is pleased to partner with Scotland on a number of upcoming renewable energy initiatives. During Mr Salmond's visit we discussed a number of areas of collaboration and I look forward to working closely with him over the coming months to move these ideas forward.

"Scotland is a leading player in the renewable energy field and we are delighted to combine our knowledge and experience through this mutual and beneficial partnership."

Mr Salmond said Scotland was a world leader in wave and tidal energy technology, and added: "Clearly also there are technologies where Masdar is substantially in advance of what we've done in Scotland, particularly solar power. It seems to me that together we'll lead in just about everything."

Mr Salmond travelled to Abu Dhabi after a two-day stay in Qatar. Today and tomorrow he will be in Dubai to attend meetings with government and business leaders. A highlight of the trip will be tomorrow's opening of the new Heriot Watt University campus in Dubai.

Mr Salmond is the head of the Scottish government. Though Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, it has its own devolved parliament in the capital, Edinburgh. He is also leader of the Scottish National Party, which is pressing for independence from the UK.

Asked if he would take any tips from the UAE, given the upcoming 40th anniversary of its founding, Mr Salmond joked: "I was hoping my plans [for independence] come to fruition in less than 40 years."

csimpson@thenational.ae