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‘Balanced energy mix critical to meeting future power needs, low eco footprint’
December 17, 2012
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ABU DHABI: The UAE’s belief in the adoption of a comprehensive and balanced energy mix covering different sources of energy, including renewable, traditional hydrocarbons and nuclear has been stressed by Masdar’s director of Sustainability, Dr Nawal Al Hosany.

“For the UAE, a commitment in advancing renewables and clean technology is an investment in our long-term future, reinforcing our economy with knowledge capital. This is a strategic sector that is playing a role in the diversification of our local economy, moving from a resource-based economy to one based on human capital and knowledge,” she said in an interview to “Green Prophet.”

“Green Prophet” specialises in environmental affairs in the Mena region, especially the Gulf States.

“Diversifying the energy mix is critical to meeting future electricity demands, lowering our environmental footprint and ensuring our energy security. Investments in renewable energy are also a natural extension of our leadership and long history as energy exporters,” Dr Al Hosany said.

“The UAE is in a unique position to leverage its resource to advance the economic, social and environmental benefits of clean energy,” she added.

Al Hosany said, “We have an opportunity to leverage its expertise in energy and move into new sectors, including wind and solar power.” According to her, the future energy mix would include renewables.

“We should embrace this transition. In addition, the region also has an abundant solar resource – an energy we should tap into to address energy security and our rising demands,” she added.

Women’s role

“When it comes to the region, women have an active voice in the climate change discussion. However, we can all do more, regionally and globally. The fact is climate change affects women differently, especially underprivileged, uneducated and un-empowered women. Women form the majority of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty in the world.”

Women have a social, economic and moral responsibility to be equal participants in the fight against climate change. And one way we can immediately help is to encourage women to pursue careers in maths and science, where we can advance the renewable, clean-tech and sustainability sectors, she added.

Talking about Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, she said that “35 per cent of our student body comprises women. The Institute’s Young Future Energy leaders programme that mentors and trains future leaders in the fields of advanced energy and sustainability has 45 per cent women. It’s these types of outlets in higher education that provide women with a vehicle to get involved and be part of the climate change solution.

“There are a few ways in which we can encourage women’s participation in the climate change debate. One of them is educational opportunities especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. We can actively push for better access to educational grants and scholarships, so that women can pursue advanced careers. Mentoring programmes can also provide young women with role models for their education and career paths,” Dr Al Hosani informed.

“One way we hope to shed light on the subject is during the upcoming Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) taking place from Jan.13-17 in Abu Dhabi,” she said.

ADSW is expected to be the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East and will bring together companies, policymakers and thinkers from more than 150 countries to discuss the challenges and solutions related to energy, water, climate and other sustainability issues.


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