Masdar chief says green city plans remain on track



Masdar City, Abu Dhabi\’s flagship clean energy city, is on budget and on time after the plans for the flagship development were modified last year, according to the project\’s chief executive who has dismissed rumours that the development was behind schedule.

Last year Masdar, the state-sponsored renewable energy firm developing the city, instigated a review of the project to take into account the slow property market and rapid technological developments since the original strategy was developed in 2006.

The revisions included making a planned personal rapid transport system a pilot project rather than a city-wide rollout; revising the timetable delaying final completion from 2016 to between 2020 and 2025; and no longer aiming for the city to be completely powered by on-site renewables – instead some energy will be purchased from other locations.

In total, the revised plans cut $3.3bn (£2bn) from the original $22bn budget.

However, there have been rumours of delays and further cuts to the budget, but Masdar chief executive Sultan Al Jabersaid that the reports were unfounded.

\”We are not scaling back, we are not scaling down,\” he said. \”Our plans are very much the same. Our budget is very much the same.\”

The original timetable and budget for the site were widely considered to be ambitious, and when BusinessGreen visited the city last year it was still little more than a patch of desert.

However, the company started construction this month on the second phase of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, after the first six buildings were completed on time for students and faculty to begin courses in September 2010.

Masdar was also keen to point out that residential units at the site use 54 per cent less water and 51 per cent less electricity than the UAE average, while 30 per cent of electricity demand is provided by rooftop photovoltaic panels and 75 per cent of the buildings\’ hot water provided by rooftop thermal collectors.

But Al Jaber refused to rule out further delays or changes to the project\’s budget in the future, pointing out that such a large construction project will always face unexpected developments.

\”We cannot say that our business plan or our strategy… that we will have to stick to it no matter what situation is happening in our world,\” he said.