Masdar City, the $22 billion clean energy city being built near Abu Dhabi, is scaling back some of its near-term ambitions following a comprehensive project review.
The two most significant changes concern renewable energy supply and the city's futuristic transportation system.
Instead of producing all of its own clean energy on site, Masdar may resort to purchasing renewable energy from other regions, as the city's growth and power demand is expected to outstrip the development of clean energy production.
In addition, the Personal Rapid Transport (PRT)--a system of electric powered individual pods on tracks, will be limited. Original plans for Masdar City, released in 2006, called for a car-free city. But developers say the city will now be open to electric vehicles.
The comprehensive review that led to changes took into account the lessons learned in development of the Masdar City to date, as well as changes in the global economy and technological developments.
“As the construction phase progresses, we will be continually learning, adjusting and moving forward towards our vision for Masdar City. As technology and the market evolves so will our plan. The key is to be flexible and adaptable rather than rigid and dogmatic. By doing so we can constantly apply the knowledge captured during our development to the delivery of our Master Plan. We will continually review and update our thinking so Masdar is always at the cutting-edge of global clean technology,” said Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.
Other changes include a revised project timeline. Completion date for phase 1, which includes a million square meters of developent, has been pushed back by about 2 years to 2015. And final build out is expected between 2020 and 2025.
The master plan review also highlighted development at Masdar City to date, including the completion of the first six buildings of the Masdar Institute (students and faculty moved into the new facility in September 2010). Residential units use 54% less water and 51% less electricity than average residencies in the United Arab Emirates. 30% of electricity demand is provided by rooftop photovoltaic panels and 75% of the buildings' hot water is provided by rooftop thermal collectors.
Masdar City said it is also exploring new potential sources of power, such as geothermal energy and solar thermal cooling.
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