LONDON: UAE renewable energy investor Masdar is pouring millions into a UK government fund to make Britain one of the world’s best-served countries for electric vehicles.
British ministers announced more than £500 million (SR2.29 billion) of new investments in green technologies, including a £400 million fund to bolster Britain’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with cooperation from private-sector investors.
“We were absolutely delighted that Masdar chose to invest 35 million in this fund, which the government topped up to 70 million for the installation of 3,000 rapid charges across the country,” British Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said during a conference held in London.
This more than doubles the number of rapid charges across the UK, producing a dense network of stopping points where cars can be charged in 20 minutes, compared to existing technology which can take 40 minutes.
The Masdar investment, in partnership with the UK Treasury and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), is part of the UK’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so, a law that was passed by former premier Theresa May in the last few weeks before she stepped down.
“I think today is such a good news day for both Britain and the UAE, but also our global environment in the long-term, which will allow us to start to transform our EV (electric vehicle) infrastructure, because, of course, we’ll only be able to persuade large numbers of people to switch to using EVs when we have the right infrastructure to make that possible,” Clarke told Arab News.
Masdar has invested more than £3 billion in the UK over the past 10 years, predominantly in offshore wind farms that produce enough clean energy to power more than 1 million households, which “shows Masdar’s continued participation in the UK’s clean energy commitment.”
Delighted to formally sign the first investment of the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund today at the @foreignoffice, which will more than double the number of rapid charging points for electric vehicles around the UK. Great to welcome our partners at @Masdarpic.twitter.com/GNfKA45yeY
— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) October 7, 2019
Masdar’s CEO Mohamed Al-Ramahi told Arab News: “Decarbonization and electrification of mobility is a strategic target for us and we are very excited to be a cornerstone investor in this fund, alongside the UK and the Abu Dhabi government, and hopefully this will be replicated in other countries around the world as well.”
The Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) is managed by Zouk Capital, a London-based private equity and infrastructure fund manager that invests in clean and efficient economies and has also helped finance major projects throughout Europe, including Germany and Italy.
“The opportunity for the CIIF is actually huge and the EV market is on an ever-steepening growth curve with record numbers of EV vehicles being sold every month,” said Samer Salty, Zouk’s managing partner.
With climate issues on the rise, there is a heightened sensitivity to air pollution, and as a result, more European governments are seeking alternative energy methods, particularly in the EV market.
When asked if this initiative sets an example to other governments, IPA’s commercial finance specialist, Philippa Eddie, told Arab News: “I think this will make a big difference in terms of catalyzing private-sector investment into this very fast-growing electric vehicle charging sector… in terms of having public-sector money directly alongside private-sector money.”
It is part of a larger initiative that would ensure a cleaner and healthier Britain and increase sustainability to support the government’s commitment to tackling climate change.
A further £142.9 million was unveiled in green projects, including combating air and water pollution, removing greenhouse gases, cleaner food systems, reusing and recycling materials in innovative ways and sustainable management of marine resources.
Moreover, the UK committed to phasing out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
Khaled Al-Qubaisi, CEO of aerospace, renewables and ICT for Mubadala, said: “The UAE has made huge strides in recent decades to become a leader in energy production and green energy practices, but it is essential that we continue to partner and share our knowledge and learn from other countries. Our governments are tightly aligned on climate commitments.”
The UAE government has also set a target of achieving 50 percent clean energy by 2050 and is well on the way to achieving that even earlier.
“I hope that we continue to find strategic partnerships that work for both our countries, because together we’re showing that change is possible and providing leadership to governments and private companies around the world, showing that by working together we can affect real change,” Clarke said.