In a bid to differentiate itself from it’s neighbours and other OPEC states, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has asserted that at least 7% of its energy production will come from photovoltaic sources by 2020.
Having already vaunted itself as a possible headquarter location for the planned International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Arab state is looking towards a solar future believing that once its fossil fuel resources are expended, viable alternatives will be essential. Currently, Abu Dhabi has around 8% of all global oil reserves and relies heavily on this resource as its major export. Unlike some of its neighbouring states, Abu Dhabi is looking to diversify both its economy and means of energy production as a means of protecting itself against the eventuality of exhausting their current oil reserves.
A spokesman for the Middle-Eastern state was quoted as saying,
“Many [Opec members] see renewables as a threat but the crown prince sees them as an opportunity. He [The Crown Prince] knows that the oil will eventually run out and he wants to ensure there is something left for future generations”.
The move towards solar energy in Abu Dhabi is being led by a private company, Masdar. Masdar hopes to build a completely carbon neutral city in Abu Dhabi using not only solar but also geothermal and wind power. The Masdar group is also making great strides to develop relationships with the west having already invested in British Energy company E.On and achieving the patronage of Prince Charles.