Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, has announced that the UAE’s clean energy champion will invest UK£1bn (US$1.2bn) in accelerating battery storage solutions across the UK, in line with its long-standing commitment to the country
Al Ramahi made the announcement at IE Week in London on 1 March, where he received the Honorary Fellowship of the UK’s Energy Institute in recognition of his leadership in renewable energy and clean technologies.
In a keynote address at the conference, Al Ramahi outlined the critical role Masdar plays in the energy transition as a global clean energy powerhouse accelerating the deployment of clean energy around the world.
Charting the journey of Masdar, founded in 2006, Al Ramahi highlighted that it was born from the foresight and vision of the Abu Dhabi leadership in diversifying the economy and investing in new green technologies for the future.
“Today Masdar operates in 40 countries throughout the world with 20GW of clean electricity generation from our projects, supporting clean energy technologies such as onshore and offshore wind, solar, and pushing into other technologies such as geothermal. In 2022 Masdar, welcomed ADNOC and TATA as key shareholders, who have driven new targets of 100GW renewable energy capacity by 2030 and 1mn tonnes of green hydrogen.”
How can these ambitious targets be achieved? “Financing and capital will be critical,” said Al Ramahi. “The most difficult thing is creating the opportunity. Sometimes we have capital, we have plans but there are so many barriers to execution, whether regulations, permitting, complexities in the global economies or geopolitical factors. We are optimistic about the future. We believe the momentum we have achieved over the last two decades is working… there is no going back. Every country today has a target for renewables. Corporates are also committed to net zero targets. AWS for instances produces more green electrons than many countries. The momentum is there, the capital needs to be deployed, and we need opportunities.”
Collaboration and partnership are key, he went on, noting that all Masdar’s projects in the UK, where it has already invested around UK£4bn in energy projects, are carried out with partners.
“The UK is our global hub for offshore wind and for battery storage. We are committed to deploy UK£1bn across the UK to accelerate battery storage solutions as part of the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership and Masdar’s own growth targets – one of the largest investment programmes in energy storage worldwide.”
He added, “But we need more from the government in terms of accelerating permitting and connection points to help us deploy the capital. The terms are there, the locations are there, the technology is there and will become more efficient, and the platform is there, that will help us manage and operate this fantastic infrastructure project.”
“We need to invest today in our future, and that has to be sustainable,” he continued. “Why are developing nations coming to Abu Dhabi? Because we showed them we can provide sustainable, affordable, green electrons to electrify these nations. There are 600mn people across Africa without access to electricity. We are committed to electrify and provide green sustainable solutions across the world. We have supported a lot of countries, building the first wind farms in Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and even in the UK, when offshore technology was not bankable, we came with our partners and put in the money to develop offshore wind.”
Moving to COP28, he commented that the UAE is very proud to be hosting the event, and noted the comment of Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar and president of COP28 that it will be an “inclusive COP”.
COP28 will also be important for the stock count, Al Ramahi added."To make progress we need to understand where we are, and it looks like we are not on track. There is great momentum but a lot to do.
“We as a country are confident we will achieve our net zero target before time, but we are a small nation and the environment issue is about all of us.”