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UAE’s green city completion delayed

The completion date for Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, set to be the first in the world powered solely by renewable energy, has been pushed back until between 2020 and 2025, Masdar said on Sunday.

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Phase one of the renewable energy enclave, including the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology campus, is now slated for completion in 2015, a statement said.

The renewable energy company Masdar — “source” in Arabic — had previously said the city, which was begun in early 2008, was “due to be completed by 2016.”

“We’re building (on) take-up of our tenants, and… based on what’s happened in the market, the acquisition of tenants has slowed down a little,” Masdar City director Alan Frost told AFP when asked about the delay.

He also said that building over a longer period allows new technologies to be tested and incorporated.

Frost said the estimated cost of Masdar City was now 10 to 15 percent lower than previously, putting it between 18.7 and 19.8 billion dollars, instead of 22 billion dollars.

He said that driverless electric “Personal Rapid Transit” vehicles are now being tested, and will transport people from a parking area to Masdar Institute when testing is complete later this month or in early to mid November.

The company is looking into electric buses and possibly electric taxis for transport in later phases of the city’s development, Frost added.

Masdar City will still run on renewable energy, but not all of this power will be generated on site, the statement said.

The city “will no longer rely solely on on-site clean energy sources. Instead, the purchase of renewable energy from off-site locations may also be utilised as energy demands increase over the project’s lifetime,” it said.