Projects like Siemens' should help. (It also addresses the comment posed by SmartPlanet reader "jtdavies," who wondered after last week's Dubai story what a sandstorm would do to a solar panel).
As a sign of its commitment to the year-long initiative, Siemens as previously announced is locating its Middle East headquarters in Masdar City, where Masdar Institute is located. Siemens has been building up a global presence in renewable energy, particularly in wind and solar, as it bows out of the nuclear industry. It is also charting growth in the gas turbine industry, having recently registered significant sales to Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Like the university, Masdar City is also part of the Masdar group of companies, owned the Abu Dhabi government's Mubadala Development Company. It's a modern 6-square-kilometer (2.3 square miles) cluster 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from downtown Abu Dhabi built on sustainability principles including pedestrian friendliness, solar power and passive cooling and shading.
It bans conventional cars in favor of public transport in the form of electric pod cars (forget for a second that you'll probably drive to the city gates in a gas guzzler!). The buildings stand close together above narrow walkways, and vertical wind cones draw drafts to facilitate breezes, in principle.
Masdar City's cost has been estimated at between $15 billion and $30 billion, paid for - with, ahem, oil money - by Abu Dhabi's ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It aspires to have 40,000 residents and hundreds of businesses. Industrial companies GE, BASF and Schneider also have offices there, as do the Korea Technopark Association, the Swiss Village Association and the International Renewable Energy Agency.