Who's Who at the Future Energy Summit

It's just one week until the World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar, kicks off in Abu Dhabi.

This is the third showing of the annual event and can arguably be called the top global networking event for the clean energy industry. Organizers say 600 exhibitors from 50 countries will be exhibiting across 40,000 square meters, plus a host of foreign dignitaries such as the Crown Prince of Spain for the opening plenary sessions.

One of the main questions, though, is what kind of a lasting impression this year's show will have, beyond "fostering dialogue".

There may not be any major news about Masdar City, which will be constructed in Abu Dhabi over the next 10 years with the first phase scheduled for 2013. This major project could be in its awkward teenager phase - the hype it garnered when first announced in 2006 is waning, and it is still four years until people will be able to move into the first apartments and offices, although the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology should be finished sooner.

Masdar is of course much more than its flagship carbon-neutral desert city in Abu Dhabi, with important investments in solar energy in Spain and wind energy in the UK, so it doesn't lack news-making projects to talk about.

The company has more than two dozen press releases lined up to announce at the weeklong conference and exhibition, including an important update on a biofuels programme with Etihad Airways, Honeywell UOP and Boeing.

It's also worth following the money and looking at which companies are sponsors for the event. The reasons companies would sponsor events are because they want to move into the clean energy arena, or possibly because they have already created strong ties with Masdar or the UAE through earlier contracts.

Perhaps most surprising is the event's principal sponsor, Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors. Although relatively unknown in the Gulf, it seems a major european bank has created a consultancy and research centre on climate change, and then decided to sponsor the biggest clean energy networking event in the world. Impressive. Check out its carbon counter here.

Emirates Aluminum (EMAL) is the associate sponsor, following in the footsteps of Dolphin Energy last year as a major local sponsor.

The other major sponsors are more predictable, with energy companies and engineering firms such as ABB, BP  Alternative Energy, ExxonMobil and Siemens, to name a few.

Check back at The Grid all next week as we will be covering the event live with news and analysis.