| ABU DHABI
ABU DHABI Gulf Arab oil exporter Abu Dhabi
plans to spend $15 billion in the first phase of an initiative
to develop green energy and build the world's largest hydrogen
power plant, it said on Monday.
The investment would be part of the Masdar initiative, set
up to develop sustainable and clean energy, Abu Dhabi's Crown
Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan told the World
Future Energy Summit in the emirate. He gave no time frame.
"I would like to underscore the government of Abu Dhabi's
commitment to the Masdar initiative by announcing an initial
investment of $15 billion," he said. "Next month ground will be
broken on Masdar city, the world's first carbon-neutral city."
The money will go into infrastructure, renewable energy
projects such as solar power, and manufacturing, to position
Abu Dhabi as a leader in the global clean energy market, said
Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, or
The project includes plans to start building a zero carbon,
zero waste city of up to 15,000 residents in the desert in the
first quarter of this year. "Achieving a zero carbon city is
doable," Jaber said.
Abu Dhabi, capital of the seven-member United Arab Emirates
federation, would also build the world's largest hydrogen power
plant with 500 megawatts of capacity, said Jaber.
Masdar will hold a 60 percent stake in the
"multi-billion-dollar joint venture," a Masdar official said,
adding that the rest would be equally held by British Petroleum
and Rio Tinto.
The project's engineering and design would be concluded by
the end of 2008, he said.
"The capital cost is $2 billion only for the hydrogen power
plant, and does not include the carbon dioxide part," Vivienne
Cox, chief executive of BP Alternative Energy, told Reuters on
the sidelines of the conference.
"We have not yet negotiated the full commercial framework
for the project," she added.
BP was in talks with partners in some other countries in
the Middle East and Asia to build hydrogen power plants, she
said. "There is interest from some countries in this region and
we are in talks," she said without giving further details.
Masdar has said it plans to develop a network of carbon
capture and storage (CCS) projects to pump greenhouse gases
into oilfields, reducing emissions while boosting oil output.
CCS, an as yet commercially unproven technology, should
free up natural gas that is now reinjected to push oil out of
oilfields. The UAE needs the gas for power generation to meet
rising demand as petrodollars fuel an economic boom.
According to a U.N. Development Program report issued last
year, UAE greenhouse gas emissions were 34.1 tons per head in
2004, the third highest in the world after Qatar and Kuwait and
well above U.S. per capita emissions of 20.6 tons.
Abu Dhabi signed an agreement with France this month for
cooperation on the development of nuclear energy in the world's
Sheikh Mohammed also announced the establishment of the
Zayed Future Energy Prize, with an annual prize pool of $2.2
million, designed to reward achievements in energy innovation.
Masdar's $250 million Clean Technology Fund has already
invested in different projects and Jaber said there were plans
to launch another fund soon.
(Writing by Lin Noueihed and Inal Ersan, editing by James