More energy for the Seychelles--and perhaps also Sharjah

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The Seychelles, an archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa, struggles to produce enough power for its citizens.

Abu Dhabi made a step toward lightening that burden yesterday with a Dh52 million set of generators for the island nation. Soon a wind farm planned by the emirate's clean energy company could also begin feeding the grid.

The UAE has spent more than US$70 billion in loans and other aid for development projects around the world, including Abu Dhabi's drive to help Pakistan build four hydroelectric power stations over the years, according to the Government.

''We know from our own experience that economic and social development depend on access to affordable energy," Mohammed al Hamli, the energy minister, said yesterday in Vienna at a conference on global energy access. "I stress the word affordable because there is no point in having a socket, if you cannot afford to [pay] the electricity bill."

Now Abu Dhabi could help a neighbor closer to home.

Yesterday Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered Abu Dhabi's state oil company to "help solve" Sharjah's


In the

on the state news agency WAM, he did not specify exactly how Abu Dhabi National Oil Company should address the need for fuel in the northern emirates, which have been hit hard by high oil prices. Because the Government requires retailers to sell petrol at a low price, companies like Enoc can end up selling petrol to motorists at a loss--unless they choose to stop selling altogether.

Adnoc has funneled some extra fuel to the other emirates and is "on the verge" of sending more with vessels to a port in Ras al Khaimah, according to Abdullah Al Dahiri, the head of Adnoc's distribution company.

"We have already pumped additional quantities of petrol into the Northern Emirates ranging between 35 and 45 per cent to meet demand," he

the Arabic-language newspaper Al Ittihad, which is owned by the same company as The National. "We will continue sending additional supplies to the northern emirates until the situation there stabilises and the problem is completely tackled."