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Masdar master plan changes to be announced 'imminently'

Plans for the zero-carbon Masdar City project are to be revised, with details of the amended master plan to be announced ?imminently? according to Masdars head of supply-chain management, Richard Reynolds. ?We?ll finalise the revised Masdar plan fairly imminently, in the next two to three weeks,? Reynolds was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. ?We?d only built part of it, so it made sense to stop and revisit.?

Founded in 2006, the US$22 billion venture undertook a strategic review towards the end of last year after the financial crisis tightened spending. The initial strategy envisioned for the Abu Dhabi government-backed renewable-energy company was ?very ambitious,? CEO, Sultan al-Jaber, said earlier this month.

Masdar is the centrepiece of Abu Dhabi?s alternative energy drive. Abu Dhabi is also building nuclear power plants and successfully lobbied to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

One of the issues being considered in the review is ?how to make Masdar economically viable,? Reynolds said. ?Yes, we made staff cuts,? to eliminate an overlap of roles, he said. ?We?re revisiting the choice of design and the commercial mix of the city.?

The project includes a university, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, as well as units that plan to invest in solar power and carbon capture and storage in a country that is one of the world?s largest per capita producers of carbon dioxide emissions. Masdar City itself will house all the renewable energy initiatives.

The initial proposal intended to eliminate cars and trucks at street level and include shaded walkways to counter temperatures that can reach over 38 Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer months. The plan to leave conventional cars at the city?s entrance and drive around the six sq km location in electric driverless vehicles known as pods is being reconsidered, Reynolds said.

?Having 3,000 pods running around the city would be great, but those were vehicles that couldn?t go outside Masdar,? he said. ?So now, maybe we will have electric trains, or electric cars that can be used everywhere.?