Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will serve as a gateway to Cop28

The global climate challenge can only be confronted through collaboration, and ADSW is built around that belief

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week opening ceremony last year. PA
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Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a global initiative with a purpose of accelerating sustainable development and advancing economic, social and environmental progress.

One of the largest sustainability events in the world, it serves as an example of the UAE’s long-standing commitment to climate action. The global climate challenge can only be confronted through collaboration, and ADSW, which Masdar has hosted since 2008, is built around that belief.

As Masdar prepares once again to host the 15th edition of ADSW next week, this year’s event will prove to be one of the most important yet. It will further the global climate conversation by building on the momentum generated at the UN climate conference Cop27, and it will also act as a gateway to the critical Cop28 conference, which will be hosted by the UAE later this year.

As the lynchpin event for a series of high-profile platforms, including the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) General Assembly, the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum and the World Future Energy Summit, ADSW will bring together heads of state, policymakers, business leaders and others to drive forward the global climate dialogue.

ADSW will also provide a platform to create awareness for sustainability champions across geographies and demographics.

With Masdar’s strategic initiatives such as the Zayed Sustainability Prize, Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER), and Youth 4 Sustainability on full display at ADSW, we will continue to ensure that a diverse range of voices from all corners of the globe are heard in the sustainability sector.

Highlighting the role that green hydrogen can play in building the clean energy future of tomorrow, this year’s event will include the inaugural Green Hydrogen Summit to further the conversation around how green hydrogen’s potential can be realised.

But most notably, the ADSW this year will serve as a launch pad for a new Masdar. Following Taqa and Adnoc joining Mubadala as our shareholders, this year’s event will provide the first opportunity to introduce a new, supercharged Masdar to the world.

Backed by these three national champions, we will supercharge Masdar’s growth as a global clean energy powerhouse, aiming to expand our global clean energy capacity to 100 gigawatts and our green hydrogen production capacity to 1 million tonnes per year by 2030.

While these goals are ambitious, the foundations for achieving them are strong. With more than a decade and a half of experience in pioneering renewable energy, Masdar has, in many ways, been laying the foundation to achieve these goals since our inception in 2006. Last year, in particular, was a clear indication that Masdar is ready for this challenge.

In 2022, we continued to deliver world-class clean energy projects around the globe, achieving the financial close of the 500-megawatt Zarafshan wind farm in Uzbekistan, set to be the largest of its kind in the region, and the 230MW Garadagh Solar PV Plant in Azerbaijan.

We also completed targeted acquisitions, with the purchase of a leading UK-based battery energy storage developer, Arlington Energy, a technology crucial to increasing penetration of renewables in electricity grids.

We signed landmark agreements in new and existing markets, including an agreement to develop a 10-gigawatt wind programme in Egypt set to become one of the largest onshore wind programmes in the world, an agreement to explore the development of 2 gigawatts of additional clean energy capacity in Jordan, and an agreement to develop up to 2 gigawatts of clean energy capacity in Tanzania — marking our first entry into the country.

We continued to build a position as an early mover in green hydrogen, with the signing of an agreement to develop 4 gigawatts of green hydrogen capacity in Egypt while also joining alongside BP, Hygreen Teaside green hydrogen project in the UK.

These achievements demonstrate that we are already building momentum to meet our new targets while at the same time supporting decarbonisation efforts around the world. It is critical that we succeed. With global energy security in flux more than any other time in recent memory, and with the need to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C becoming ever more pressing, the acceleration of the clean energy transition is vital to the planet’s future.

The good news is that this acceleration is already well under way. According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the installation of renewables over the next five years is set to account for more than 90 per cent of all global electricity capacity additions. This represents a huge turning point for renewables, with growth in installed capacity over the next five years equalling that of the previous 20.

At Masdar, we are committed to building on our — and the UAE’s — legacy as clean energy pioneers by seizing the opportunities that a booming economy represents. In doing so, we will be doing our part to secure a cleaner and more sustainable future.

But that future cannot be secured without a concentrated global effort to meet our collective net-zero objectives and Paris Agreement commitments. Collaboration is key to unlocking a future powered by clean energy, and just as it has been for the past decade and a half, it will again be the focus of ADSW.

Mohamed Al Ramahi is chief executive of Masdar

Updated: January 16, 2023, 4:57 AM