Masdar chief calls for national effort to build a sustainable future

The boss of the UAE’s renewable energy giant Masdar has called for a unified national strategy in the bid to achieve the country’s green goals.

While Abu Dhabi forges ahead with the low-carbon project Masdar City and Dubai gears up to build the ambitious Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, Masdar MD and CEO Dr Sultan Al Jaber says a true “national energy strategy” would take the UAE light years ahead.

He told delegates on the final day of the World Energy Forum in Dubai yesterday that in addition to its future aspirations the country already has a proven track record in major energy projects.

“We have oil reserves, gas reserves, substantial financial resources and networks we have made over the last few decades,” Al Jaber said.

“Put that together and it will allow us to position ourselves as a true energy player - instead of [only] being considered an exporter of oil and gas.”

The Masdar boss told reporters on the sidelines of the event that a sound energy policy had to be included “as a main pillar of the economy.”

Still think going green means less of the green stuff in our wallets and bank accounts?

Think again, the vice-chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

“It’s more or less universally accepted that to have a sustainable and profitable future, we have to have a green economy,” said Hisham Abdulla Al Shirawi.

He’s not just talking the talk either - Al Shirawi says the crucial word is “action.”

UAE companies can help by taking simple steps like replacing the bins under each employee’s desk with one main waste and recycling area, using recycled water to give the plants a drink, and ensuring their office air conditioning and lights are switched off when workers leave for the night.

Doing that at the Dubai Chamber’s own headquarters has resulted in “Dhs7 million worth of savings,” Al Shirawi said yesterday.

The energy output of their 15-storey block is now less than a five-storey villa, he said.

“It’s not one big thing, it’s many small steps,” Al Shirawi said.

In fact he even suggested new proposals of his own - “reducing bills for low energy users, or cheaper licenses for eco-friendly companies,” as potential means of encouraging UAE residents to use less energy.

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