Although this might seem a little strange for a country dominated by hydrocarbons, Abu Dhabi’s green agenda fits firmly into its 2030 Economic Plan to diversify its economy.
Abu Dhabi is expected to become a magnate for international companies looking to invest in the research and development of renewable energy technologies. In addition, it is encouraging the establishment of joint ventures with companies that can offer leading-edge technologies.
Abu Dhabi’s main initiative is Masdar City, which is set to be the first carbon-neutral city in the world. The projected investment is $22bn, with another $15bn earmarked for renewable energy projects, according to media reports.
Masdar itself is investing in wind power plants and solar power technologies in other parts of the world, including Spain and Germany.
These initiatives highlight how far the ‘green’ movement has come. According to figures published by New Energy Finance, global investments in clean energy reached $24.3bn in the second quarter of 2009, 83% higher than the first quarter.
Qatar, too, is instigating numerous green initiatives, according to Qatari company Sabban Property Investments (SPI). This includes launching the Qatar Green Building Council, an independent non-profit organisation committed to developing a sustainable approach to design and development of buildings.
SPI is building Sabban Towers, the first 100% carbon-neutral project in the Middle East. Recently, SPI’s environmental adviser, Nicola Clarke, said initiatives such as these were strengthening Qatar’s reputation as a residential and investment destination.
Lucia Dore is the Gulf correspondent at mergermarket, part of The Financial Times Group.