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Ahmed Baghoum

CEO, Masdar City

Steve Severance

Director of Growth, Masdar City

Masdar City has long been a leader in the region, being built as a sustainable city even before sustainability was a buzzword, and is now a shining example for others ahead of COP28.
How significant is Masdar City to COP28 and vice versa?

AHMED BAGHOUM Masdar City is an innovative project that demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development and a low-carbon future. The city incorporates a range of sustainable features, such as solar panels, energy-efficient building design, and recycled concrete, to reduce energy use. It also includes green spaces, pedestrian-friendly streets, autonomous electric vehicles, and public transportation to encourage walking and cycling, and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Masdar City is a significant project for COP28 because it reflects the UAE government’s commitment to creating a more sustainable future, and because of the potential for Masdar City to help inspire other countries to follow the UAE’s lead in addressing the global climate crisis.

What does Masdar City offer to the UAE and the region to mark the Year of Sustainability?

AB The Year of Sustainability aims to encourage positive action on environmental challenges. This has been a priority at Masdar City since it broke ground 15 years ago. We have already made great progress in generating and utilizing renewable energy and using design principles to make buildings more energy and water-efficient. With three net-zero energy buildings underway, we play an important role in UAE Net Zero 2050.

What makes Masdar City unique to similar sustainable cities that have been developed in the region?

AB No two cities are ever alike. Each is unique in terms of its design and footprint, though there are a few things that make Masdar City stand out. We have been leading the way for 15 years and set out to build a sustainable city long before sustainability was in vogue. We experimented, we learned, and we pivoted, ensuring each project was more ambitious and more leading-edge than the last. The second thing is that we’re not just talking about and planning for sustainability—we are actually doing it. We have piloted two generations of autonomous vehicles and built Abu Dhabi’s first net-zero energy villa. We are also home to the largest cluster of LEED Platinum buildings in the world.
Emerge and Khazna Data Centers have signed an agreement to develop a ground-mounted solar PV plant to power Khazna’s new data center in Masdar City. How will this new facility be a role model to upcoming projects of the same scale?

STEVE SEVERANCE We are confident that the new data center in Masdar City will serve as a role model for future data center projects in several ways. First, by utilizing solar power as its primary energy source, the facility will massively reduce its carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels, making it more environmentally sustainable. Second, the facility’s location in Masdar City will also demonstrate the compatibility of data centers with similar sustainable urban developments. Third, the facility could be an example of how data centers can be integrated with renewable energy resources to achieve high energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Masdar City has announced the opening of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Institute’s first Middle East headquarters. How will the institute work with industry and public sector partners to build new schemes and enhance human capital?

SS The opening of CCS’s first expansion in the Middle East at Masdar City is a great addition to our rich portfolio of global businesses that share our vision. This is a testament to confidence among international businesses in Masdar City as the ideal destination that drives their growth aspirations while contributing to a sustainable future. The Institute’s Middle East headquarters in Masdar City will focus on promoting the use of CCS technology in the region and work with regional partners to develop and implement CCS projects.

What are Masdar City’s medium-term goals?

SS One of our major projects at Masdar City is The Link, a 30,000-sqm development that will include Co-Lab, the region’s first net-zero energy shared working and living facility, which will help facilitate a new kind of community. It will also feature four other low-carbon buildings that will include event space, outdoor plazas, shaded courtyards, recreational and fitness facilities, and retail.

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