South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik was in Abu Dhabi, January 16th to deliver a keynote address during the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and toured Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted renewable energy company. The Prime Minister experienced firsthand the strategic long-term commitment Abu Dhabi is making to accelerate the development, adoption and deployment of clean technology and renewable energy.
During the visit, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik toured Masdar City and the campus of the Masdar Institute of Science and technology – the Middle East’s first home grown, graduate level research driven institute dedicated to renewable energy and clean technologies.
The visit to Masdar precedes the Prime Minister’s keynote address at the World Future Energy Summit, where he will join recently announced keynote speakers Chinese Premier HE Wen Jiabao and Secretary General of the United Nations, HE Ban Ki-moon.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, a lawyer and politician, is a strong supporter of renewable energy and is working to create a green economy focused on economic development and job growth. He assumed the post of South Korean prime minister in October 2010.
The visit by the Prime Minister underscores the growing relationship between the UAE and South Korea especially in the areas of renewable energy, training, education, construction, shipbuilding, semiconductors, information technology and telecommunications. The UAE established bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea early in 1980 and these relations have witnessed continued development at all levels and have facilitated an exchange of experience in various fields.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said, “For over three decades now, the UAE has been a trusted and reliable partner to South Korea. The UAE has always been a meeting and dialogue hub between east and west; the World Future Energy Summit is just another demonstration of the country’s convening power.
“Renewable Energy has been a topmost priority on the South Korea agenda, as a country that has prided itself throughout the years for great innovations, it only made perfect sense for Korea to be strongly represented in a Summit that focuses on powering innovation.”
South Korea aims to generate 11% of energy from renewables by 2030. This is compared with a current figure of 2.46% achievement of these targets would be four times more than current levels.
The country has earmarked USD 891.2 million in support of renewable energy projects and financing including building solar and wind power energy facilities.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy has also announced that it would strengthen its new and renewable energy sectors, expecting the sectors to achieve exports of USD 40 billion in 2015 compared with USD 4.6 billion in 2009.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company said, “The deep rooted partnership that the UAE shares with South Korea is further strengthened by this visit of Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik. Collaborations with like-minded countries are at the core of the strategy of our wise and visionary leadership of Abu Dhabi and Masdar is proud to be able to build upon such partnerships.”
In March 2011, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and South Korea’s Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) signed a memorandum of understanding to develop synergistic partnerships between UAE think tanks, businesses and Korean counterparts. On July 7th, 2011 GGGI inaugurated its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional office in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.
GGGI and the UAE are focusing on developing and implementing specialized training programs to educate workers on issues surrounding green growth. As well as developing tailor-made low carbon green growth models for oil rich and non-Annex I countries with the aim of meeting achievable greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in the future.
The GGGI Abu Dhabi office serves as a regional hub in tackling issues such as climate change and economic development throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
For 2012, the South Korean government has set a standard to generate 2.61% of its electricity from renewable energy with a goal to increase to 6percent by 2020. This is significant because South Korea as a developing country has committed to and is investing in diversifying their energy mix.
Now in its fifth year, WFES, taking place from January 16th – 19th , is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to promoting advancement of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the water and waste sectors by engaging political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to drive innovation, business and investment opportunities in response to the growing need for sustainable energy.
More than 26,000 attendees, including 3,000 delegates, 650 exhibiting companies and 20 national pavilions, are expected to participate in the summit.