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Image Credit: Dana A. Shams/Gulf News

In anticipation of the UAE’s 40th National Day, we are reminded with pride of the country’s remarkable progress and development. Under the guidance of a wise leadership the UAE has overcome challenges with confidence and determination to create a truly great society.

 Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Rulers of the emirates set the course to build a united community based on their shared values of cooperation and determination. 

 The vision of the UAE’s founding father, Shaikh Zayed, continues to be furthered under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, as well as the persistent efforts of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

In just 40 years, the UAE has become a nation that balances culture, heritage and values with great prosperity. Shaikh Zayed had said: “We must not rely on oil alone as the main source of our national income. We have to diversify the sources of revenue and construct economic projects that will ensure a free, stable and dignified life for the people.”

From the start, Shaikh Zayed realised intuitively that natural resources will not last forever and stressed the importance of sustainable development. 

Holistic society

He laid the foundation of a knowledge-based economy that promotes partnerships between the public and private sectors, enhances strategic integration, creates new industries, and develops human capital. A society that is equipped to meet the needs of today without compromising the needs of the future. 

In spite of the UAE’s rich hydrocarbon reserves, its wise leadership set the course for sustainable development. Masdar was established in 2006 as a multifaceted strategic initiative, wholly owned by Mubadala, to develop and implement renewable energy solutions and clean technology to ensure that the UAE has fuel to meet its growing energy demand. 

Masdar is a growing global hub for clean technology companies and works across the renewable energy value chain; covering education, research and development, investment in clean technology, implementation of renewable energy projects, and reducing carbon emissions.

In just five years, Masdar has achieved a great deal and hosts the permanent headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) at Masdar City. Irena is the first international organisation to be headquartered in the Middle East. The global community’s unanimous ratification of the proposal to locate Irena’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to renewable energy.

In addition, Masdar implements a portfolio of local and international renewable energy projects including the 10 megawatt photovoltaic farm in Masdar City and the 1 megawatt photovoltaic panel on the roof of Masdar Institute. 

In addition, progress is being made on Shams-1, a 100MW concentrated solar power plant in the western region of Abu Dhabi.

Internationally, Masdar has contributed to the implementation of the 19.9MW Gemasolar solar plant in Spain that uses advanced technology to generate and store electricity for 15 hours after sunset. Work continues on the Valle-I and Valle-II CSP projects in Spain, as well as the 630MW London Array Phase-1 wind farm off the Kent Coast on the Thames Estuary in the UK.

Work is also progressing with partners to use clean technology to reduce gas emission from industrial plants, through a range of projects in the country and overseas.

Masdar also seeks to engage, inform, and educate people locally, regionally and internationally. Whether it is through the structure of Masdar Institute or by furthering dialogue at international forums, Masdar is empowering people with the information and tools necessary to further the renewable energy industry in the UAE. 

In addition, Masdar is hosting the World Future Energy Summit, the fifth edition of which will be held on January 16-19 in Abu Dhabi. Masdar also facilitates the hosting of the General Assembly of Irena’s 150 member states, enhancing Abu Dhabi’s status as the global capital of renewable energy.

Through the $4-million Zayed Future Energy Prize, Masdar seeks to identify, recognise and reward innovation, leadership, long-term vision and impact on renewable energy and sustainability.

A model of the wise policies pursued by the UAE’s leadership, Masdar aims to build capacity that will ensure the competitiveness of the young nation. While we are all proud of the UAE’s great achievements, we recognise that maintaining the current success is a challenge in itself. The best message of loyalty that we can deliver to the nation, therefore, is to continue to follow the path of the leadership and work hard with dedication to ensure the federation’s continued prosperity.

Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber is Masdar’s chief executive officer.