HONOLULU // If you had told me ten years ago that we, as a global community, would one day fly a plane around the world using only the power of the sun, I wouldn’t have believed you.
And if you had told me I would one day represent my country on a daring and historic expedition across the globe, I wouldn’t have believed that either. Today I know better.
It has been eight months since Solar Impulse 2 — the solar-powered plane circumnavigating the world — arrived in Hawaii and changed my life. The bold and inspiring adventure, supported by Masdar and Abu Dhabi, is pushing the boundaries of innovation, turning a vision into reality and helping increase awareness of the benefits of clean technologies.
As a young Emirati, I understand the relationship between sustainability and innovation, and the role they play in shaping our nation’s economic development. The Swiss company behind Solar Impulse 2, Abu Dhabi is exploring new horizons and is committed to fostering the development of new technologies that contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
The global community has a shared challenge of growing sustainably, while reducing climate risk. The Paris Agreement has helped usher in a new phase of energy transition worldwide with renewable energy leading the way.
The use of renewable energy is expected to increase significantly over the next few years with greater contributions to the power generation, heating and cooling and transport sectors.
The Solar Impulse project is a story about optimism and an example of how human ingenuity can solve some of our greatest challenges. It is a shared story that unites us all and hints at the future — and what’s possible.
I already miss my family and friends, but I am excited about starting our second leg and exploring new countries. More importantly, I am excited about speaking to my peers and others about the importance of innovation and the technologies that enable a sustainable, cleaner future.
Hasan Al Redaini, 25, works for group communications at Mubadala and is travelling with the Solar Impulse 2 team. Follow him on Twitter at @hasanrtw.