The seventh edition of the World Future Energy Summit, which opens today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, is expected to attract about 30,000 participants including government officials, representative of global energy companies, environmentalists, clean energy advisors, experts and consultants, as well as academicians from up to 170 countries.

The summit, which will be inaugurated by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week from 20-25 January, which comprises several other conferences, exhibitions, an International Water Summit (IWS), and the Zayed Future Energy Prize award ceremony.

Abu Dhabi, under the hands-on leadership of its crown prince has managed to get much attention around the world in recent years by coming up with projects of international significance and the energy summit, focusing mainly on clean energy technologies, has become a regular annual international event in the capital of the UAE’s biggest and richest emirate, along with the biennial International Defence Exhibition (IDEX).

Abu Dhabi has also taken the lead in developing clean energy projects in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region and has already built a 100MW solar polar plant, and is currently constructing a second one. It is also the first in the region to start building nuclear power and has the ambition to generate at least seven per cent of its electricity through renewable energy sources by 2020. Another first for Abu Dhabi is its focus on turning its waste to energy and plans are under way to build a 100MW power plant.

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the World Future Energy Summit are creating a wider understanding and underlining the importance of renewable energy and the role it could play to overcome energy shortages and outages in the MENA region, as well as the energy-hungry South Asian countries. At the same time, it is creating new market for technologies and Abu Dhabi, by investing in such technologies, will have much to gain in the coming years.