ABU DHABI – Today Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and the Lancaster delegation, along with City-partner the Beautiful Earth Group, visited Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. The delegation had scheduled meetings and a private tour with senior Masdar City officials in conjunction with its attendance at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Parris was invited to speak at the Summit by the government of Abu Dhabi.
The multi-billion dollar development of Masdar City is the single largest renewable energy initiative of the UAE. Masdar City is a new city currently being built from the ground up in the desert of Abu Dhabi to be the most sustainable city in the world. Approximately six kilometers in size, Masdar City is an emerging global, clean technology center which places its residents, industry, and visitors at the forefront of the global, renewable energy and sustainable development arena. As this City is built out over the next several years, it will become home to 40,000 residents and provide jobs for 50,000 citizens of Abu Dhabi.
The day started out with a private briefing for Parris and Beautiful Earth CEO and President Lex Heslin conducted by the Director of Masdar City, Alan Frost, and Dr. Michel Ellis, U.S. Government Relations Liaison for Masdar.
The discussion focused on the goal of Masdar City to become a world-class, high-density, pedestrian-friendly City where current and future renewable energy and clean technologies are showcased, marketed, researched, developed, tested, and implemented. Also discussed, was a future partnership between Lancaster and Masdar City through the Smart Sister Cities Program.
“Just as Lancaster is emerging as a world model for integrating renewable energy technologies to change and improve existing cities, Masdar City provides a template for the world to follow in the development of new, efficient, and inviting places. In similar ways, both Lancaster and Masdar are cities of the future,” stated Parris.
After the briefing, Parris and the rest of the delegation joined Masdar City officials in reviewing development plans and touring the site of the emerging City. The delegation learned that Masdar is the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), founded in 2009 to promote widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy.
The delegation also learned that, as with most dynamic technology clusters, Masdar City has a top-notch research university that is a source of innovation, technologies, research and development, and highly skilled graduates.
The Masdar Institute, developed in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is already operating in Masdar City, and its students are the new city’s first residents.
Other major partners in the Institute are Siemens, which will establish its Middle East headquarters and Centre of Excellence in Building Technologies in Masdar; GE, which will build its Ecomagination Centre at Masdar Institute; and Schneider, which will also establish a research center in Masdar.
The mission of Masdar Institute is to pursue a holistic approach to keep Masdar at the forefront of the global, renewable energy industry and advance renewable energy initiatives worldwide to ensure that the industry pursues pioneering technologies and systems that are both environmentally effective and economically feasible and profitable.
“One of the most enlightening and inspiring chapters of the Masdar City story is the fact that Abu Dhabi started this world class city by developing it around education from the beginning,” said Parris. “This is a testament not only to Masdar City, but to the people of the UAE.”
Masdar City is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government-owned Mubadala Development Company, a catalyst for the economic diversification of the Emirate.
(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster.)