Abu Dhabi: With a call towards climate action, positive news about the steadying of carbon emissions and honouring people who made tremendous transformation for a sustainable future, the tenth edition of the World Future Energy Summit kicked off in the capital on Monday.
The opening ceremony was held in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who was accompanied by three heads of states, two heads of governments and dozens of ministers from across the globe.
“Today, we celebrate the success of a vision by working on rationalising energy and water on a wider scale to include more people around the world. This will help offer more opportunities to boost levels of education, health, women empowerment, supporting children and the needy all around the world,” Shaikh Mohammad commented on the occasion.
The Summit is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, a 10-day event that works to create momentum and discuss action towards sustainability. It is hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.
Shaikh Mohammad gave away the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize to five high schools, two companies and one non-profit organisation. The prize, the world’s one of the foremost award promoting sustainability and clean energy innovation in their respective categories, has so far helped improve the lives of 202 million people around the world, according to the organisers.
Shaikh Mohammad said that the aspirations and efforts of Zayed Future Energy Prize perfectly complement the humanitarian dimension of the Year of Giving initiative launched this year (2017) by the UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony , Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Masdar chairman, said that the world is making notable progress in limiting carbon emissions.
“For the first time in the industrial age carbon emissions are levelling off and even starting to drop. This is an achievement of historic proportions. In this new era, renewables and hydrocarbons enjoy a truly symbiotic relationship that is reshaping the economics of energy,” Dr Al Jaber said.
He added that the shift in the energy mix is even more obvious in the Gulf region.
“For over 75 years, our region has been the leader of the hydrocarbon industry. Today, we are extending our reach to become the centre of gravity for all forms of energy,” he said.
The official explained that using renewable energy provides multiple benefits for economies around the world.
“Deploying renewables saves money, liberates hydrocarbons and generates greater value. Where solar excels at peak hours, natural gas provides a necessary low-emission, low-cost, base load power foundation. Combining both is a winning partnership that makes perfect economic sense,” he added.
Dr Al Jaber was also optimistic about the economics of using renewable energies.
“These economics have reached an unprecedented tipping point. Over the last five years, the cost of wind power has decreased by a third, while the cost of solar has already fallen by more than half and it continues drop [rapidly]. And the more solar [power] we deploy, the more available hydrocarbons we will have to drive higher value products and help meet global energy demand,” he said.
“While oil and gas will remain critical drivers of the global economy for decades to come, we recognise the immediate and long term advantages of a fully diversified energy mix. In fact, working collectively, renewables and natural gas have begun to reset the carbon clock,” the official added.
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will run until January 21, and its activities and events are expected to be attended by more than 35,000 people. World Future Energy Summit, International Water Summit, and Eco-Waste Exhibition are the main components of the event.