UAE’s Masdar, an Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company, is looking towards doubling its energy production over the coming five years, a goal set as the group’s finance portfolio grew to a whopping $8.5 billion.
The company, founded in 2006, is set out to address the global shift in energy production and need for diversification, namely renewable energy.
“The world needs a diverse mix of energy, including renewable energy and energy generated from traditional sources,” Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said while pointing out to challenges concerning energy security faced by governments worldwide.
Elaborating on the key role Masdar’s strategy plans, Al Ramahi said it helped in bolstering UAE’s leading role in energy production and pushed the Gulf state closer towards its 2050 objective for considerably boosting clean energy production.
“For more than 10 years, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (another title held by Masdar) has supported the UAE's drive to strengthen its leading role in the energy sector and to achieve the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 for having clean energy sources providing 50 percent of its energy needs by 2050,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The UAE launched the “Energy Strategy 2050” in 2017 meant to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25 to 50 percent and reduce carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent by 2050.
Masdar is looking to invest in the Saudi market in 2019, as well as expanding clean energy projects in Morocco, Al Ramahi added.
Masdar was able to offer one of the top competitive bids to develop the Dumat Al Jandal wind farm in Saudi Arabia, the first of its kind in the Kingdom and the largest in the Middle East with a total capacity of 400 MW.
As integrating renewable energy into overall energy production gains traction everywhere, countries in the Middle East, and around the world, have laid down strategic objectives accordingly.
Saudi Arabia, for example, aims to generate 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023 as part of its new national renewable energy program.
“We will keep on investing and developing efforts in the field of renewable energy, especially as the trend of adopting clean energy within energy sweeps across countries of the region (the Middle East) and on a global scale.”
Renewable energy projects led by Masdar in each of UAE, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Spain, Germany and Montenegro are generating a massive total power output of 4 GW.
“We are also seeking to increase our portfolio of projects in the Americas and Asia, and we are studying several projects at the moment,” Al Ramahi revealed.
Although renewable energy sources have proven to be an effective solution to sustainable development and climate change, offering promising opportunities for developing a diverse mix of energy sources, the up-and-coming industry still faces challenges.
“Perhaps the most important challenges we face in this sector are the selection of suitable opportunities for investment, and then the implementation of these projects on the ground, which sometimes exhausts tremendous capacities,” Al Ramahi said.
Complexities that go into the construction of mega projects are among the challenges faced by Masdar, which built UK's Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial floating wind farm.
“The construction of this plant was a great challenge for us,” Al Ramahi admitted, saying that such projects require careful consideration to many details, difficulties and complexities.
Another challenge clean energy development faces lies within post-completion project management that is meant to ensure the plant’s performance does not fall below the levels it was designed to maintain.
Al Ramahi cited Masdar’s extensive experience in helping it put out one of the world’s best performances.