By Shafaat Ahmed www.khaleejtimes.com
The Dubai Global Energy Forum opened on Sunday evening in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as the keynote speakers including Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Mohammed El Baradei drew world’s attention towards the serious pursuit of alternative energy sources.
Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA and Simon Cooper, Deputy Chairman and CEO of HSBC MENA also gave keynote addresses to a rapt audience that included Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; and Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Supreme Energy Council. Also gracing the gathering were Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education; Mohammed Humaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education; Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police; Mattar Al Tayer, RTA chief; and Juma Al Majid among others.
Dr Kalam, who is former president of India and a world renowned scientist, shed light on the energy requirement of world’s populace and how with little bit of technological innovation and energy efficiency the challenge could be met in a sustainable way.
Urging the policymakers to raise the current share of alternate fuel in power generation from 14 per cent to 45 per cent by 2035, he made several suggestions to replace fossil fuel as the primary source of world’s energy. He suggested the creation of a $700 million Indo-UAE Independent Energy Platform to explore various means of power generation and to cooperate in tapping alternate energy sources.
He also suggested tapping into abundant resources of solar energy and asked the authorities to transform the desalination plants from current fossil fuel based to solar powered units.
Drawing from his over ten year experience as the head of International Atomic Energy Agency, El Baradei focused his thoughts on the need for the safe pursuit of atomic energy.
Speaking against the backdrop of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster, he said that though nuclear power is only reliable alternative to fossil fuel-based power generation, “we need to review all the world’s nuclear power plants and enforce stricter safety measures.”
The forum will continue to shed light over the next days on various aspects of energy, finance and sustainable growth. Divided in eight different tracks, the forum will hear over hundred speakers from around the world share their experience, expertise and suggestions on the way forward for the energy sector.