The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is continuing to strengthen its leading stature in the clean energy sector and help drive the sector’s development, in line with the directives of the UAE’s leadership to promote clean technology and renewable energy solutions on a large scale, as well as support the global efforts to address climate change, and implement the country’s strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
In 2021, Masdar reinforced its position as a pioneer in the clean energy sector through the signing of a strategic agreement between TAQA, Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), under which each will own a stake in Masdar. The step is aimed at developing a global investment portfolio in renewable energy and green hydrogen, with a current production capacity of over 23 gigawatts of renewable energy, making Masdar one of the largest companies of its kind in the world.
The company has also launched commercial projects and activities as part of a long-term strategy aimed at ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come, as well as supporting the UAE’s economic and social development goals, in line with the ‘Principles of the 50’.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said the company has achieved many successes in 2021 and continued its leading efforts to promote clean energy, in line with the vision of the country’s leadership to address climate change, encourage innovation and achieve sustainable development, as well as adopt business models that generate larger future proceeds.
Al Ramahi added that the company’s projects and investments in the past year had expanded to some 40 countries around the world, with a total value of over US$20 billion and a total capacity of 14 gigawatts, boosting its position as a leading global investor in renewable energy projects, sustainability and new technologies, and a supporter of the international efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.
In 2021, Masdar inaugurated several solar and wind energy plants and signed a number of agreements to support future projects in several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the US, Uzbekistan, Poland, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Greece.
In August 2021, Masdar inaugurated the Nur Navoi solar power plant in Uzbekistan, which has a production capacity of 100 megawatts and is the first photovoltaic solar power plant in Uzbekistan.
Masdar and the Taaleri SolarWind II fund also co-own two wind energy projects in Poland, after announcing, in January, that they had acquired 50 percent stakes each in both projects, which were their first investments in the Polish renewable energy sector.
In February, Masdar announced the completion of the first phase of the agreement to acquire a 50 percent stake in a 1.6-gigawatt clean energy portfolio in the US from EDF Renewables North America, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Mubadala, Masdar and Ukraine’s DTEK to explore the investment potential of Ukraine’s clean energy sector.
The company is also continuing the construction of the Dumat Al Jandal wind farm project in Saudi Arabia, which has been connected to the main electricity network. Additionally, Masdar is leading a project development consortium, comprising EDF Renewables and Nesma, which are jointly developing a 330-megawatt solar power plant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In 2021, Masdar signed several partnership and investment agreements aimed at launching diverse clean energy projects, including an agreement with the Armenian National Interests Fund to develop a solar power project with an overall capacity of 400 megawatts, in addition to an agreement with the Armenian government to develop a photovoltaic solar power plant with a capacity of 200 megawatts.
Masdar also signed an agreement with the Tribe Infrastructure Group, which specialises in infrastructure consultations and development, to establish a joint venture aimed at waste-to-energy projects in Australia.
Masdar signed an agreement with the Ministry of Electricity and the National Investment Authority in Iraq to develop five solar power projects in various regions in the country, with a total capacity of 1 gigawatts. It also signed a partnership agreement with electricity utility company PTP Jawa-Bali, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s state power utility company, to develop the Shirata floating solar photovoltaic plant, the first of its kind in Indonesia, with a production capacity of 145 megawatts. In addition, the company signed an agreement with Pertamina Power Indonesia, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s national oil and gas company, to explore opportunities to develop onshore and floating photovoltaic solar power plants and utilise clean energy technologies.
March 2021 saw the signing of an MoU between Masdar and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) to explore opportunities for collaborations and joint investments in renewable energy projects in Asia, including Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
In Greece, Masdar signed an agreement with Taaleri Energia to develop a 65-megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant through Masdar-Taaleri Generation (MTG). This project is Masdar’s first investment in the Greek market.
Masdar also forged an agreement with the Ethiopian government to develop solar power projects in various areas of the country, with an overall capacity of 500 megawatts.
In April 2021, it announced the signing of an agreement to develop the first photovoltaic solar power plant in Azerbaijan, with an overall capacity of 230 megawatts, the first independent solar power project funded by foreign investment in the country.
Meanwhile, Mubadala, ADNOC and ADQ formed the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance, to produce hydrogen using natural gas and renewable energy and market it overseas, as well as in the UAE. Under the framework of this alliance, Masdar joined the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, the Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Siemens Energy and Marubeni in an initiative to establish a pilot plant project in Masdar City that aims to explore opportunities in green hydrogen, sustainable fuels, and kerosene production from electricity for transportation, shipping and aviation.
Masdar, ADNOC and British Petroleum also signed strategic cooperation agreements to construct two clean hydrogen centres in the UAE and the UK, with each having an initial production capacity of 1 gigawatt.
In the field of sustainable urban development, Masdar City continued its expansion in 2021 as a pioneering hub for research and development initiatives in Abu Dhabi. It has a group of major partners and projects involved in technology, research and development, as well as institutions and companies concerned with promoting sustainability and leading innovations and technology.
In 2021, the city’s free zone attracted more companies, which include international, medium, small and startup companies, all of which have proven their commitment to promoting sustainability and developing innovations to establish a sustainable community. The city is now home to over 1,000 companies.
In August 2021, the Masdar City Free Zone launched a new range of options for businesses, in addition to a range of options dedicated to female entrepreneurs, aimed at supporting the growth of businesses managed by women in the UAE.
The city is also encouraging entrepreneurship through the Technological Innovation Support Unit, which is the first business accelerator unit for emerging companies specialising in sustainability in the Middle East.
Masdar started 2021 by holding a virtual training course during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which is hosted annually by Masdar in Abu Dhabi. The week’s events were held remotely via video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and focused on ways of achieving green recovery throughout the world.
Masdar is preparing to host a new edition of ADSW from 15th to 19th January, 2022, and the inauguration event is set to take place at Expo 2020 Dubai, along with the honouring of the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, as part of a collaboration underscoring the joint efforts of ADSW and Expo 2020 Dubai to promote the global sustainability agenda, which will enhance the stature of the UAE in the area of climate change.
ADSW 2022, which will be attended by leaders, ministers, decision-makers and experts, will include the ADSW Summit, IRENA’s General Assembly meeting, the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum, the Women’s Forum for Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy, a Youth Centre for Sustainability, and the Innovate initiative, in addition to the forums and exhibitions of the World Future Energy Summit.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize, a leading global award launched by the UAE to encourage innovative sustainability solutions managed by Masdar, said it received 4,000 applications from 151 countries to participate in its 2022 edition, setting a new record in terms of the number of applicant countries.
In 2021, a global initiative of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, entitled “Beyond 2020”, continued to provide effective solutions and technologies to several remote communities around the world, in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals, aimed at promoting comprehensive and sustainable development.
2021 also saw Masdar receive several awards and tokens of recognition for its projects that are based in many countries. The company was recognised as the “Energy Company of the Year” for the third time at the prestigious Gulf Business Awards 2021, having previously won the award in 2016 and 2017.
Furthermore, Masdar received the coveted “Award of Excellence-Power” at the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards 2021, surpassing companies from the entire energy sector and demonstrating once more its leadership in clean energy.
In the area of sustainable urban development, Phase II of the sustainable residential complex project in Masdar City received the “Rethinking the Future Award 2021”. In the field of clean energy, the Al Dhafra Solar PV plant project was awarded the title of the “Best Utility Scale Project” by the Middle East Solar Industry Association.