General Electric and Mubadala Development have just announced a multi-billion dollar partnership that will give a huge financial boost to a plan to develop a clean-energy walled city in the United Arab Emirates. Masdar City, scheduled for completion in 2015, will get all of its energy from sustainable sources, and will create zero net greenhouse gas emissions. It will also be completely car-free.
As part of its partnership with Mubadala, GE will fund a giant research center in the heart of the city that will house a think tank of technologists working to develop sustainable energy and water technologies. The company will also commit up to $50 million to Masdar’s cleantech investment fund.
Abu Dhabi isn’t exactly known as a bastion of sustainability—it has one of the highest energy consumption rates in the world, and its man-made islands aren’t doing any favors for coral reefs, oysterbeds, and fish stock.
However, you have to give the UAE some credit. In addition to Masdar City, Abu Dhabi has created the Estidama Initiative—an ambitious plan to make Abu Dhabi the sustainability capital of the Middle East. It would certainly be interesting (and ironic) if the city managed to use its oil wealth to wean itself off non-renewable energy.
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