Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

World's energy solutions can come from Abu Dhabi

As the World Future Energy Summit kicks off, the CEO of Masdar shares his insights.

As a leader in global energy markets, the UAE, and Abu Dhabi in particular, highly prize the development of sustainable energy solutions. Renewable energy and environmentally friendly technologies will be pivotal in creating jobs for future generations of Emiratis, driving the diversification of our economy and maintaining our position in the future energy market.

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) that takes place in Abu Dhabi today is a showpiece event that demonstrates the commitment and leadership of our nation on these topics of global importance. It attracts prominent politicians and business leaders from all over the world.

The summit is a global platform for open dialogue and collaboration for anyone involved in the renewable energy or clean technology sectors. It is the only event in the world that covers the four pillars that are key to the advancement of renewable energy and climate change mitigation: policy, commercialisation, technology and finance. This year the theme will be "enabling future energy solutions - finding practical answers to the energy security global challenge".

The summit is also an opportunity for everyone with an interest in addressing climate change to come together under one roof to share solutions, reach agreements and continue to make progress. In December of last year, an important agreement was reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun. The international community must continue to push forward and implement further similar agreements, particularly at a time when there is a consensus to do so. There is no doubt that international events such as the energy summit will help to create this momentum for future progress and agreement.

Abu Dhabi's importance as an emerging global hub for renewable energy has been recognised by world leaders and the wider international community. On a visit to Masdar City last week, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that in the pursuit of clean, renewable energy, the US was "betting on Abu Dhabi".

This sentiment is expected to be further reinforced by the address of Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, at the summit today. In the spirit of collaboration, the summit gathers more than 30 ministers from countries that are leading the way in developing and deploying renewable energy solutions.

Such recognition is a major benefit to our economy. The progress being made has helped promote Abu Dhabi and attract foreign direct investment. This is particularly important as we look to transform our economy, focusing on the development of human capital in the hi-tech sectors, including renewable energy, and realising Abu Dhabi's vision 2030.

When Masdar initiated the energy summit it did so with the intention of creating a space where private sector entities, academics and government representatives in the renewable energy field could come together, exchange experiences, develop joint business opportunities and learn from each other. This is a snapshot of what life will be like in Masdar City: an environment where start-ups can seek investment, multinational corporations can introduce groundbreaking technology, scientists can discuss their research with policymakers and students can explore job opportunities. It is only fitting that the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), which is mandated to promote the widespread adoption of renewable energy, be located within such a unique setting.

Job creation and human capital development speaks to the heart of Abu Dhabi's vision 2030. The strong emphasis on human capital development at the summit is epitomised by the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL), an initiative led by the Masdar Institute.

The future leaders group continues to grow in stature, with 150 participants joining the programme this year. They consist of the brightest young talent who are interested in applying their skills to the renewable energy sector. The group bridges the gap between generations and ensures the interaction necessary to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship. It also provides young professionals and students from the UAE and abroad with the opportunity to become more engaged in finding solutions to the world's biggest challenges: energy shortage and efficiency, water conservation and climate change.

Over the next few days, the energy summit will help to maintain the momentum for further agreements and action on climate change. It will also have a far-reaching impact on a local level, helping to raise awareness of the importance of climate change, and the necessity of advancing renewable energy among our local population.

To continue driving international awareness on environmental topics and create jobs for future generations of Emiratis, Masdar relies on the continued support of Abu Dhabi and the international community. That is why, through events such as the summit, we are seeking to share the ideas, technology and knowledge that will be needed to tackle climate challenge and meet our future energy needs.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber is the CEO of Masdar