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French President Francois Hollande to deliver keynote speech at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

Event is the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: French President Francois Hollande will deliver a keynote speech at the official inauguration of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which will take place during the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit on January 15.

Taking place between January 13-17, ADSW is the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East and will address the interconnected challenges that affect the global adoption of renewable energy, water security and sustainable development.

The visit by the French president underscores the strong bilateral relationship between both countries and the mutual interest to accelerate clean energy deployment and diversify the global energy mix.

“France has a firm commitment to sustainable development and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. France has offered to host the COP 21 and expressed its willingness to cooperate tightly with all the countries, who are ready to work together, notably the UAE, in order to pave the way for the most ambitious agreement possible in 2015 on climate change,” said Hollande. “This trip to the UAE is an opportunity to identify ways the global community can better work together to carve a pathway for sustainability and the deployment of clean energy.”

France and the UAE are already working together to advance the new energy industry. Total, the multinational French oil and gas company, and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, have partnered to build Shams 1 — a 100 megawatt Concentrated Solar Project. When complete, Shams 1 will be the largest CSP facility in the Middle East, delivering clean energy to more than 20,000 homes and displace 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Schneider Electric, the winner of last year’s Zayed Future Energy Prize, in the category of large corporations, is working in the UAE and with Masdar on energy efficiency issues. While institutions such as ParisTech are collaborating with the Masdar Institute in developing the Global Renewable Energy Atlas.

“Our countries share a common bond, as France and the UAE are seriously tackling the energy and climate challenge,” said Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. “From investments in large-scale renewable energy to domestic carbon reduction strategies, we are showcasing the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable development.

“It’s an honour to welcome President Hollande to Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week,” added Dr Al Jaber. “From low-carbon nuclear power to its commitment to wind, solar and bioenergy, France is helping shape the global discussion about the future of energy.”

France is making a strategic move to invest in renewable energy as a method to lower the costs of electricity and boost the national economy. Today, France’s wind energy capacity ranks sixth in the world and the nation has a target to produce 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. It has engaged an impressive effort for greater energy efficiency in its industry, transport infrastructure and construction.