New man in charge ready for challenge

Mohammed Al Ramahi is pleased to be taking the reins, 10 years on from the formation of Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

Mohamed Al Ramahi, chief executive of Masdar. Clint McLean for Masdar
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ABU DHABI // It is business as usual for the newly-appointed chief executive of Masdar, who said that the mission and vision of the company would not change.

Mohammed Al Ramahi is pleased to be taking the reins, 10 years on from the formation of Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

“Regardless of the person sitting in this chair, the mission and vision of the company stays the same and that is to be a leader,” he said.

Mr Al Ramahi, who has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Evansville, Indiana, joined Masdar in 2008 as manager of internal auditing.

He was appointed to the top job earlier this year when predecessor Dr Ahmed Belhoul was appointed to the role of Minister of State for Higher Education.

Mr Al Ramahi said that although common now, renewables were considered a radical venture a decade ago.

“If you had come and asked me, ‘Mohammed, what do you think of the price of renewables just 10 years back,’, I would tell you it was very expensive, especially solar,” he said.

“Today, I’ll tell you, PV (photovoltaics) might soon be cheaper than gas. Why? Because of countries like the UAE who invested in renewables when it was expensive.”

Mr Al Ramahi said that without research and investment, the cost of renewables could not be at the lower levels they were today.

“It’s a new era across the globe. When we started in the region, we were pioneers, we were the first entity to implement and think about renewable energy projects in the region,” he said.

“On certain occasions, we were criticised that a country with a wealth of oil and gas was getting into the business of renewables.”

Now that renewables are part of almost every country’s agenda following COP21 in Paris at the end of last year, which produced a climate deal signed by more than 170 countries at the UN last week, Mr Al Ramahi said that the UAE would not stop, especially as Masdar continued to be a leader in renewables.

“I would say that Masdar played a small role in the success of COP21 as part of the UAE delegation, as part of the thought leaders, and we are trying to contribute as much as we can,” Mr Al Ramahi said.

“We have participated in international platforms and we have contributed to the thinking of sustainable development. We aim to be pioneers in this role and continue our work as leaders in the renewable energy sector.”

nalwasmi@thenational.ae