World leaders commend UAE’s push for renewable energy

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    Sustainability greatly benefits developing nations, leaders say at energy summit

    Abu Dhabi: The ongoing clean-energy revolution across the globe, in which the UAE is playing a major role, greatly benefits developing countries and their people, heads of states and governments said at the official opening day of the World Future Energy Summit.

    “Today’s summit will further accelerate the global dialogue on clean energy and clean technologies,” Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the event.

    The summit is being held as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, a 10-day series of conferences, activities and events that aim to promote clean technologies and sustainability.

    Nazarbayev was among six world leaders who attended the opening ceremony.

    He emphasised the role of clean energy in the lives of common people, adding that the prominence of clean energy in world affairs has even helped introduce the ‘diplomacy of clean technologies’, another way of referring to the increased cooperation among world nations in the sector.

    The UAE’s initiatives in sustainability, especially in clean energy, reflect the wisdom and vision of its founding father, late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had always advocated for a development model that never harmed nature, Nazarbayev said.

    The president also hailed the UAE’s pioneering efforts to introduce innovations in the transportation sector, such as the Hyperloop, which aims to enable travel at 1,200km per hour using vacuum technology, and unmanned cars.

    Nazarbayev said that Kazakhstan had also started work on producing electric cars, and that it is planning to start manufacturing electric buses.

    Because carbon emissions in this century will be much greater compared to previous periods, clean energy is the [most] effective solution to check this menace, the president added.

    Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica, offered further inspiration from his country’s extensive reliance on renewable energy sources.

    Over the last two years, 98 per cent of the electricity in Costa Rica has been generated from renewable sources, including hydro, geothermal, wind and biomass, he told delegates.

    “The previous models [of energy generation] are no longer viable today … and we chose renewable energies in Costa Rica more than half a century ago. And this summit is the largest environmental gathering in the Middle East and one of the most prestigious gatherings in this field worldwide,” Solis said.

    The major share of Costa Rica’s electricity, estimated at about 75 per cent, is generated using hydropower, including at its power plant at Lake Arenal and at the 305.5-megawatt plant on the Reventazon river. But Solis added that the country still has to tackle the carbon emissions generated by fossil fuel-run modes of transport.

    “This is one of our greatest challenges, and we must reduce these emissions if we are to comply with our ambitious goal of becoming one of the first carbon-neutral countries in the world by the time of our independence bicentennial in 2021,” he said.

    “The UAE is playing a prominent role in revolutionising the energy sector, and this summit is a fitting tribute to UAE’s contributions. It provides an excellent opportunity to engage in dialogue for achieving a common goal of a greener and cleaner future,” said Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal.

    He added that Nepal had installed a 500-kilowatt hydropower project as early as 1911, but much of the country’s population still unfortunately depends on conventional fuels for their energy requirements. However, the country has much potential to develop its ample renewable resources, Dahal said.

    Filip Vujanovic, President of Montenegro, said his nation is aiming to increase the share of renewables to 33 per cent of gross final energy consumption by 2020.

    “But there is still a lot to be done, especially in terms of managing new energy systems and finances,” he added.

    President of Paraguay Horacio Cartes and President of Seychelles Danny Faure were also present at the opening ceremony.