Vice President Joseph R. Biden visited Masdar City as part of his series of official engagements with senior UAE leaders. The visit is the latest milestone in a bilateral relationship that has helped drive global efforts to foster the widespread adoption of renewable energy, the acceleration of clean technology innovation and research as well as the development of knowledge and human capital across a number of emerging industries.
Vice President Biden toured Masdar City in the company of H.E. Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, and Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
The delegation was introduced to various areas of collaboration demonstrating the critical innovative and commercial cooperation between the U.S. and the UAE on renewable energy and clean technology, which is anchored by the partnership between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Masdar Institute. During the visit the delegation also met with U.S. companies Lockheed Martin and GE, both of which conduct important research and development in partnership with Masdar and Masdar Institute from their bases in Masdar City.
Welcoming the Vice President, H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber said: “Vice President Biden’s visit to the UAE is a testament to the strong bilateral ties between our two countries, one built on mutual trust, economic partnership and a vision to developing sustainable and knowledge-based economies.”
Dr Al Jaber continued, saying, “U.S. cooperation with Masdar has led to advances in the research, technology innovation and application of sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing energy, water and climate challenges. We look forward to building on our accomplishments over the last decade and to continue developing the knowledge and expertise that will enable us to keep pushing the boundaries of clean technology,” Dr Al Jaber added.
Since the Obama Administration took office in 2009, Masdar has been at the forefront of the UAE’s efforts to cooperate with its U.S. counterparts in tackling energy and climate change challenges. Over the eight years of the Administration, these relationships have evolved from basic collaborations to ones of knowledge-exchange and shared innovation on issues critical to both nations.
An MOU signed in 2010 between Masdar and the U.S. Department of Energy laid the foundation for a number of joint partnerships with national laboratories in the U.S., including projects related to carbon capture, use and sequestration and renewables-powered desalination.
Meanwhile, the solar mapping work undertaken by Masdar Institute’s Research Center or Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) supports the objectives of the Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group of the Clean Energy Ministerial of which the U.S. and UAE are active members. ReCREMA is supporting the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in developing a publicly-accessible atlas of solar and wind resources, particularly for developing countries. IRENA Director General Adnan Amin briefed the delegation on ReCREMA’s latest research.
U.S. companies have been involved in various areas of collaborative research and technology development with Masdar, including next generation desalination technologies powered by renewables. One of Masdar’s pilot renewable energy desalination plants in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi, was developed in partnership with California start-up Trevi Systems and three other international clean technology companies. The technology could have a practical impact on municipalities in the state of California that are threatened by water shortages.
The US has one of the fastest growing commercial relationships with the UAE, with bilateral trade standing at over US 25 billion (AED 91.82 billion) in 2015.