ABU DHABI – Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and the Lancaster delegation arrived in Abu Dhabi Sunday for the World Future Energy Summit (WFES).
Initially, Parris met with Lex Heslin, President and CEO of City partner Beautiful Earth.
Beautiful Earth has an approved 50 megawatt development in Lancaster with a Power Purchase Agreement with the City and a pending Interconnect agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE).
On Sunday evening, Parris and Beautiful Earth hosted a meeting with Kazuo Furukawa, Chairman of Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Among the topics discussed was a greater role for NEDO and Japan in the Smart Sister Cities Coalition, of which Lancaster is a charter member. Smart Sister Cities is establishing an international coalition of cities who will commit to and have a plan to become net zero cities, which will produce as much clean energy as the city consumes. Member cities will share their knowledge and research, as well as facilitate and secure funding and investment for their communities.
Prior to addressing the Summit on Tuesday regarding “Transforming Cities: Establishing Sustainable Communities,” Parris and the delegation attended the opening session of the Summit, which featured keynote addresses by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- Mon and China’s Premier Wen Jiaboa.
In touring the Exhibit Halls and corporate and government displays, Parris was able to meet with several firms and dignitaries, most notable of which was Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jabar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, a city which is currently being built to encompass Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted approach to Renewable Energy.
Al Jabar invited the Mayor to a private VIP reception at the Emirates Palace Resort to meet with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahan to discuss Lancaster energy initiatives and the Smart Sister Cities Program.
One of Masdar’s central initiatives is the WFES, with the goal of bringing together the foremost minds from government, academia, and industry to promote and establish renewable energy worldwide.
“Even after a very short time here, it is crystal clear that renewable, clean, and sustainable energy is vital to the economic and environmental well-being of all countries,” said Parris. “This is a goal that transcends cultural, political, and national boundaries.”
“Lancaster and the Antelope Valley are critical to the energy future of California and the United States,” said Heslin. “The Antelope Valley is the documented best location in the country for solar energy generation. I firmly believe that Lancaster will lead the nation in many solar energy and other sustainability initiatives.”
(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster.)