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Renewable Energy will not be a Threat to Oil Firms

silvia@khaleejtimes.com Filed on January 19, 2010

ABU DHABI — The UAE plans to generate seven per cent of its energy requirement from renewable sources such as solar and wind power by 2030. Majid Al Mansouri, secretary-general of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), told Khaleej Times that renewable energy will not be a threat to oil-producing companies.

“Oil companies will not slow down or reduce production,” he said.

“The renewables would instead supply the energy from the annual growth in demand,” he added. Al Mansouri was speaking on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) which got underway in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

EAD, which has a stand at the WEFS, is hoping to create more international awareness of its eco-friendly projects in the emirate.

“We haven’t officially announced it yet, but we have just completed a range park in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, which will supply residential areas entirely with solar energy,” revealed Al Mansouri.

Other EAD projects include the setting up of 30 lakes in the emirate, all for the purpose of producing renewable energy. When it comes to future eco-friendly outlook for Abu Dhabi, the Tourism, Development and Investment Company (TDIC), is another big player, and is currently showing at the WEFS, how development and environmental solutions could be friends rather than enemies.

Nadia Ford, TDIC’s assistant director of Environment and Sustainability, told Khaleej Times that the governmental institution does not draw a line between development and wildlife protection.

“We are not only protecting, but also enhancing the environment,” she said.

TDIC, in charge of developing cultural, tourist and residential projects in the emirate such as the Sadiyat Island and the Desert Islands, has already taken steps to ensure that buildings are not only ‘green,’ but protected against future climate change threats such as rising sea levels.

“In key locations such as the Cultural District on Sadiyat Island, which will include the Louvre, Guggenheim and Zayed museums, we have created land elevations for protection against sea levels rising,” said Ford.

Also on Sadiyat Island, TDIC had to cut down 7,000 mangrove trees, but has created a nursery of 7,500 other mangroves, which would be planted within the next few years. “So we are not looking to replace, but also to add more to the nature, for each of our projects,” she claimed. When it comes to green buildings too, TDIC is investing in latest technologies and practices, meant to reduce energy consumption and use renewable energy. “On some of our new buildings, including our own future headquarters to be completed in the next two years, we use solar panels on the roof and designs which allow for plenty of natural light to save on the artificial lighting, as well as shading windows, which help keep the indoors cooler, so less air-conditioning is used,” explained Ford.

The technology to reduce water consumption is also used by TDIC these days, such as placing flow regulators on water taps or minimising garden plants watering by replacing them with arid plants such as cacti.

“Even for those we are using now sewage, treated waste water,” she pointed out. On the Sadiyat Island, TDIC has set up a waste management facility, which recycles construction material, as well as plastic, paper and metal, most of which is then re-used by TDIC for some of its projects.

· silvia@khaleejtimes.com

Silvia Radan

I'm a senior journalist with 22 years experience in all forms of mass media. Originally from Romania, I lived and work in Bosnia, Uzbekistan, England and, for the past 10 years, in UAE. I specialize in art, culture, traditions, heritage, but also environment and the hospitality industry. I'm passionate about jazz and world music, cinema, mythology and offroading - I'm a marshal with one of UAE's offroading clubs!





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