His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates affirmed that - led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates - God protect him – The United Arab Emirates is committed to retaining its leading role as a global energy provider through energy diversification including the adoption of renewable energy technologies.
At the opening ceremony of the fifth annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES), today, His Highness stressed the importance of the open discussions taking place at the Summit - and their role in shaping the policies that foster cooperation in international communities in order to ensure energy security, sustainable development and to help mitigate climate change. His Highness emphasized that improving the quality of life is one of the topmost goals of the leadership of the United Arab Emirates.
His Highness said: “Energy is a vital vein that nurtures all aspects of modern day civilization. In addressing the several challenges facing the world today, it is our responsibility to guarantee energy security and to exert every effort in developing clean technologies. It is our responsibility to take advantage of the various renewable natural sources of energy to achieve sustainable development.”
His Highness added: “Over five years ago, we began our work in building capacity in the renewable energy sector. Today, we realize that this approach has gained increasing regional and global attention – We are continuously hearing of new solar or other renewable energy projects being launched – This is exactly what is required – a collaborative effort and the multiplying of efforts to achieve energy security. We are staying the course in our objective and we are working in parallel streams towards developing local and international projects – and as such transferring knowledge and building bridges with the international community.”
His Highness commended Masdar for hosting the World Future Energy Summit and for its role in enhancing the United Arab Emirates image in the international arena –specifically in the renewable energy and sustainable development sectors. His Highness explained that Masdar is a strategic, long term national investment with economic, political, scientific and social implications.
His Highness greeted the guests of the Summit which included Presidents, Ministers, dignitaries, academics and entrepreneurs, emphasizing that the UAE has and will always have faith in the power of collaborative efforts in facing global challenges and achieving collective goals.
The opening ceremony of the Summit - that was hosted by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, Masdar, between 16 to 19 January received His Excellency Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland, Her Excellency Madam Atifete Jahjaga, President of Republic of Kosovo, Wen Jiabao, Premier of People’s Republic of China, Kim Hwang-sik, the South Korean Prime Minister, His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United National, Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and His Excellency Nassir Abdul Aziz Al-Nassir, President of the UN 66th General Assembly.
WFES opening ceremony was also attended by His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region, His Highness Sheikh Sorour Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, His Highness Lt. General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, His Excellency Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works and His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.
The ceremony commenced with the UAE’s National Anthem and a short video that highlighted the importance of innovation in finding cutting edge renewable energy solutions. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar delivered a welcome note that was followed by an address by the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and the President of the 66th UN General Assembly, Nassir Abdul Aziz Al-Nassir followed by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who launched the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
The second half of the opening ceremony featured Bertrand Piccard, CEO of Solar Impulse, who designed a solar plane that achieved 26 hours of continuous flying charged only by solar energy. Piccard shared the story of the success of his initiative and underscored how His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan encouraged him when he met him at one of the innovation festivals and expressed confidence in the success of his project. Piccard called upon relevant stakeholders to revolutionize conventional thinking, change the current production techniques, agree on a legal framework for production and work in an innovative manner to promote the use of clean technologies. Finally, a group of creative youth shared a glimpse of their innovations in the renewable energy and clean technology sector. The students explained how the shape of tree leaves inspired an invention of solar panels, how solar powered watering techniques helped greenhouses and how they invented a solar powered suitcase for charging objects while travelling. Students, Mariam Al Mazrouei, Abdul Rahman Al Mazrouei from the UAE and Aidan Dwyer, from the US were joined by a larger group of students on stage.
In his address, Chinese Premier HE Wen Jiabao congratulated and thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the success of the Summit and commended the high-level participation that includes politicians and industry experts. The Premier stressed the importance of working to develop future energy and achieving sustainable development to push forward the economic momentum.
The Premier highlighted that he had heard a lot about Abu Dhabi and Masdar’s efforts in accelerating, developing and deploying renewable energy technologies and as such was looking forward to his first visit to the United Arab Emirates. He spoke of the evolution of the energy sector and its effects on the economy and how the human race has been through different phases starting from wood, to coal, hydrocarbons and nuclear to renewable energy. He emphasized that with each change of energy source, the world witnessed great development in its production capacity. He added that if the world committed to developing renewable energy it would be able to heed more opportunities for economic growth.
The Premier highlighted that this is reflected in the progress of the human race and how energy has been the center of its growth and proposed investing more energy to economize the consumption of energy.
The Chinese Premier also praised IRENA and how it played a positive role since its inception in supporting the development of renewable energy.
In his final remarks, Wen Jiabao praised the continuous and committed efforts of the UAE towards actively pursuing energy diversification, and its pioneering initiative of offering a platform, such as the WFES, to catalyze the dialogue around the relevant issues at hand.
The South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik then assumed the stage and said: “The UAE has achieved growth and prosperity under its wise leadership, and we would like to extend our deep gratitude and appreciation for the hospitality and organization of this event.”
“For the fifth consecutive year, WFES succeeded in strengthening its position as a strategic platform for dialogue. We welcome sharing our experience in Korea with our Green Growth strategy,” he added where he highlighted the opening of the Global Green Growth Institute in Abu Dhabi, which he expects will play a major role in the Middle East and North Africa region.
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik stressed on his country’s willingness to cooperate with the UAE in promoting renewable energy solutions and contributing to the mitigation of climate change. He also shared South Korea’s target to become the world’s fifth largest country to adopt green and clean technologies by the year 2030.
President of the 66th UN Assembly, His Excellency Nassir Abdul Aziz Al-Nasser also addressed the Summit, where he acknowledged the importance of the event. “With the UAE hosting the largest annual congregation specialized in energy is a reflection of its commitment to principles of sustainable development, and a clear indication of the UAE’s committed efforts towards strengthening human capacity in the renewable energy sector.”
He highlighted that this will ensure that the UAE is “committed to coping with the increased demand for energy and to contributing to the preservation and protection of the environment.”
He added that hosting the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is yet another indication of the UAE’s commitment to developing and deploying renewable energy and clean technologies.
Furthermore, this year’s WFES opening ceremony served as a platform for the launch of the UN Secretary General’s Year of Sustainability for All.
In his keynote address, the Secretary General said: “I thank Masdar and the Government of Abu Dhabi for organizing this important summit and hosting the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Energy is central to everything we do – from powering our economies to achieving the Millennium Development Goals… from combating climate change to underpinning global security. It is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and preserving the environment.”
Urging nations and individuals to actively participate in the Year he added: We need innovation that can spread throughout the developing world -where energy demand is growing fastest. We need partnerships with the private sector, which is the global engine of growth and the primary source of new investments. And we need visionary leadership from you – from governments, from the private sector, from investors and from civil society.”
In delivering his keynote speech, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar said: “This esteemed audience of dignitaries reflects the success of the UAE’s vision under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE – God Protect him, and the unyielding support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Through this collaborative effort, and mandated to build bridges of partnerships with countries to address the challenge of climate change - we have started reaping the results of the vision of our leadership.”
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar said: “Over the past 40 years, our wise and visionary leadership has worked diligently to ensure that our economy evolved into one that is sustainable and resilient. The UAE managed to position itself as a distinguished position as a primary provider of Energy through the Oil and Gas sector. We acquired great knowledge in the field of energy that enabled us to utilize our knowledge and expertise in developing and exporting new forms of energy. Most importantly, we must deploy projects and demonstrate that renewable energy makes strategic and commercial sense,” he added, stressing the key importance of parterships and collaborations to achieve feasible and successful projects such as the Gemasolar plant in Spain.
Dr. Al Jaber also emphasized on the significance for private and public sectors to remain agile to enable them to adapt to the rapid development of the renewable energy sector and cope with global markets.
Dr. Al Jaber further highlighted the substantial growth of the industry, emphasizing the need for governments to take advantage of the need to optimize budgets by growing the renewable energy sectors: “By diversifying our energy mix and investing in the advancement of clean energy solutions, we can boost economic activity and ensure sustainable development.”
While wind power capacity has increased by more than a factor of 10 to over 200 GW, solar PV installed capacity has grown by a factor of almost 30 to 35 GW. Globally, costs have significantly declined while technologies have improved. Moreover, clean energy has grown from a one billion US dollar industry to a 211 billion US dollar market per year.
Adding that a key components to address include “regulatory frameworks that have to evolve as the industry grows, incentive schemes must continue to encourage technology deployments, and research and development funding is essential to improve efficiency and drive cost down.”
The day culminated with two consecutive Panels of Ministers’ from across the world, discussing a wide range of themes including energy policy, investment and funding, green buildings, clean transport, solar, wind and biofuels.
More than 26,000 delegates are participating in this year’s Summit. Participants will discuss renewable and future energy solutions, innovations, investments, policy and vision over the course of the coming three days. Participants can expect plenary sessions on business and policy, with insights from executives and agencies specialized in renewable energy. Additional items on the agenda include discussions on opportunities in wind energy, role of gas in future energy mix, energy and rural development and energy efficiency for carbon reduction. Further discussions on establishing sustainable communities and transportation systems, education, training and development of human capital will also take place.