“We do not want to and we cannot be 100 per cent dependant on oil. We have an
economic development programme in an entirely new sector focused on clean and
renewable sources of energy and environmentally sustainable technology.”
Bathed in sunshine.
The words reported are Sultan al-Jaber’s, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Future
Energy Company, the government body of the United Arab Emirates which has lately
launched a revolutionary development programme to generate alternative energy
in the wealthy Gulf State. The programme will cost about 350 million US dollars
and should be completed by 2009 when a power plant, consisting of a huge number
of solar panels, will be able to generate 500 megawatt of alternative energy.
This initiative is quite meaningful since it comes from one of those countries
whose fortune has been made with black gold. In a recent interview to Al- Jazeera,
al-Jaber has foreseen 10,000 houses enjoying solar-powered electricity in the
near future. Moreover, the power plant will start the setting up of a special
zone for the alternative-energy industry.
A change of course.
Significantly the initiative comes from Abu Dhabi which is the richest in oil
among the seven members of United Arab Emirates as it holds the 90 per cent of
the oil reserves of the whole country. This is a clue to understand a new policy
which goes beyond the mere installation of solar panels. Oil has been feeding
the international economic market for many years now, but it is not eternal, consequently
many countries are getting ready for new, clean and renewable sources of energy.
While in Iraq and elsewhere people still die because of the worldwide struggle
to control and exploit energy resources, the Emirates are bucking the trend of
international market and letting the world hope in a radical change of course
in the economic policy of the powerful Gulf States.