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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES-The government of Abu Dhabi has committed $15 billion to developing alternative energy and clean technology, it revealed at the World Future Energy Summit this week. The money will support solar-, wind- and hydrogen-power projects, as well as carbon reduction, sustainable development, education and R&D.

The investment dovetails with the government’s development of Masdar City, a master planned community that will rise out of the desert adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s international airport. The 1,483-acre, walled community, master planned by London-based Foster + Partners, will eventually support a population of 47,500. It will include both residential and commercial space, but no automobiles. The high-density city will have zero carbon emissions and zero waste.

The first phase of the project is to build a photovoltaic power plant outside the future city’s walls. A rapid transit system will connect Masdar City to the center of Abu Dhabi.

The $15-billion investment by the Abu Dhabi government will be channeled through the Masdar Initiative, a company that aims to explore, develop and commercialize future energy sources. Masdar will leverage the Abu Dhabi government’s initial investment with joint ventures and other investment partners for a grand portfolio many times larger, comprised of projects in Abu Dhabi, the MENA region and globally.

“For nearly half a century, the emirate of Abu Dhabi has used its natural resources to contribute to growth, development and security–our own as well as that of other countries,” says Masdar CEO Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, in a statement. The emirate of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, has been a leader in the field of hydrocarbons for nearly half a century. One of Masdar’s primary objectives is to build upon Abu Dhabi’s energy leadership and develop an entirely new domestic economic sector built on energy innovation and intellectual property, thereby establishing the emirate as the regional and global center of future energy solutions.

The $15-billion Masdar commitment will be directed to several areas. They include: investments, manufacturing future energy solutions, education and R&D, carbon management, sustainable development and planning, and renewable energy infrastructure projects.

Norman Foster, chairman of Foster + Partners, was slated to deliver the keynote address at the close of the World Energy Summit on Jan. 23. Prior to his address, Foster said in a statement, “the Masdar Initiative has provided Foster + Partners with the opportunity to realize–on a large scale–many of the issues relating to architecture and sustainability that have been driving us since as early as the 1970s. We feel privileged to be working with a visionary client to push boundaries, question assumptions and think about new ways that we might live in the future.”

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