Abu Dhabi Crown Prince HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced an investment of US$15 billion in alternative energy solutions through Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, at the opening session of the three-day gathering at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Organisers Turret Middle East said attendance was three times the expected figure. The summit drew 11,170 regional and international exhibition visitors and 1,550 delegates attended the VIP conference programme, which included an address via hologram by HRH Prince Charles, and speeches by Prince Andrew the Duke of York, the presidents of Iceland and Djibouti, and industry leaders.
Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, master-planner of the world’s first carbon emissions-free city, which will break ground in Abu Dhabi next month, closed the forum with a compelling presentation on the possibilities of sustainable urban living to a packed auditorium. More than 300 journalists from all over the world covered the summit, and there were 211 exhibitors from 22 countries.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said the success of the inaugural World Future Energy Summit was an international endorsement of Abu Dhabi’s ambitious goals for alternative energy and a celebration of the considerable progress already made.
In his opening address, Sheikh Mohammed also announced the US$2.2 million Zayed Future Energy Prize. The annual prize will award US$2.2 million to recognise individuals and organisations for their excellence in the innovation, development and implementation of clean energy solutions.
Dr. Al Jaber of Masdar said the decision to host the World Future Energy Summit was based on Abu Dhabi’s determination to create a genuine international platform to pool the best ideas in the alternative energy sector and bring about real action.
He said: “Discussion needs to be matched by progress and the World Future Energy Summit has achieved concrete results, a significant achievement in its first year. We can see these results through the sheer volume of participation, the quality of the speakers, exhibitors and visiting delegations, and Abu Dhabi’s substantial financial commitment to the development of alternative energy.
“Our aim at Masdar is to create an open platform for global collaboration in energy, a space for corporate, industrial, academic and financial partners to come together. The attendance at the World Future Energy Summit shows the world’s confidence in Abu Dhabi’s ability to lead.”
Dr. Al Jaber said that the speakers and visiting delegations had congratulated the UAE’s leadership and the Abu Dhabi Government on the success of the summit. Nearly 70 per cent of exhibitors and 80 per cent of sponsors have booked again for the 2009 event.
The inaugural World Future Energy Summit from January 21-23 focused on critical climate change and alternative energy topics, including finance and investment, carbon management, solar and wind power, clean transport, biofuels, sustainable construction, and the role of education and research and development.
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