Oil Report

UAE green firm Masdar cautious on 2009 investments

ABU DHABI, March 15 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s state-owned green energy firm Masdar said on Sunday it would pursue a cautious investment policy this year because of the financial downturn, focussing on current projects.

Masdar, also known as Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co, said last year it plans to spend $15 billion in the first phase of an initiative including solar, wind and hydrogen power projects in the United Arab Emirates and abroad.

It is also building a carbon-neutral city in Abu Dhabi, which will include the largest solar power plant in the region with solar panels supplied by First Solar Inc FSLR.O.

“2009 is an execution year for us. We will be looking for opportunities worldwide but are being cautious in finding investment opportunities. It is wait and watch now .... how the economic downturn will be,” CEO Sultan al-Jaber told reporters.

“At least for the next six months we will focus on executing the existing pipeline of projects.”

Jaber said Masdar is still reviewing whether to take a stake in the London Array offshore wind farm project.

Masdar said in October it would take a 20 percent stake in the project, with German firm E.ON AG EONGn.DE retaining a 30 percent share, in the first part of a wider renewable energy partnership between Masdar and E.ON.

“It needs a lot more analysis and we are still reviewing it. There are some issues, even the pound is weak,” he said, referring to Britain’s currency.

He said the United Arab Emirates will submit its bid by the end of April to host the headquarters of the newly formed International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Masdar was set up by the Abu Dhabi government to develop sustainable and clean energy. It is 100 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government through the Mubadala Development Company. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by David Holmes)