Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), and other collaboration partners jointly announced Wednesday the official commissioning of the UAE Solar Atlas. The beta version of the Atlas was released in April. The data on solar energy will be freely available online from early 2013 and can be accessed by government organisations or private enterprises for assessing the technical feasibility of any proposed renewable energy project. The data would also be fed into Irena’s global geo-referenced renewable energy (RE) potentials database. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the three-day Rio+20 Earth Summit 2012 that opened here Wednesday. Six days of open-ended informal conference were also held in the build-up to the Summit, including the third and final Preparatory Meeting. A delegation from Masdar Institute is actively participating in the summit as part of the overall Masdar initiative. Masdar Institute is part of the UAE Pavilion that also hosts Masdar and other Mubadala entities. The Solar Atlas is prominently displayed for the benefit of the visitors and stakeholders. Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Special Envoy for Energy & Climate Change, and CEO of Masdar, said: “The official launch of the UAE Solar Atlas comes at a time when investment in solar energy is witnessing an uptrend. This multi-stakeholder initiative will immensely help investors to assess risks and commercial viability before implementing new solar energy projects. Masdar is proud to be part of this project that will provide further momentum to greater adoption of clean energy sources.” Adnan Ameen, Director-General of Irena, said: “The official release of the UAE Solar Atlas at the Rio Summit signifies the remarkable commitment of the global partner organisations in bringing clean energy closer to the community. This internet-based platform is designed to raise awareness of technology opportunities and serve as a repository for high quality renewable energy resource data, offering an avenue for those seeking to choose the solar energy route as part of their energy mix.” Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The commissioning of the Solar Atlas ensures renewable energy markets regularly receive reliable and stable data on the annual solar irradiance. Such data can prove extremely valuable for deploying various technologies including roof or land area for photovoltaic cells. The Mena region offers abundant potential for tapping solar energy and we believe the UAE Solar Atlas, supported by the country’s leadership, will encourage other countries in the region to implement renewable energy projects in this part of the world.” Green economy Meanwhile, Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, has arrived in Rio de Janiero as head of the UAE delegation to the Rio+20 Summit. The UAE delegation is composed of representatives of more than 20 public and private sector entities from across the UAE that share the nation’s vision for a green economy and are actively working to advance the Rio+20 agenda in support of global sustainable development for all. Shaikha Lubna on the occasion said: “Seeing our nation’s progress towards sustainable energy over the past four decades makes me proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short time. The legacy of responsibility instilled on us by our founding father Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has never been clearer than it is today.” She added: “And yet we are inspired to do more. We have come to Rio to be active participants in the global effort to put the world on a sustainable path, and look forward to sharing with the world how a small and dynamic society is innovating and empowering to build a sustainable future for all.” At Rio+20, Shaikha Lubna will address heads of state and world environmental leaders during the official Rio+20 high level plenary session. Her remarks will reflect the UAE’s pursuits in the Rio+20 negotiations to ensure the United Nations’ text negotiations align with the country’s economic, environmental and societal sustainability priorities. “The UAE remains hopeful the world can reach international consensus on ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, build upon concrete initiatives such as Sustainable Energy for All, and promote access to environmental and societal data and information. Our delegation stands ready to move these outcomes forward, and to share our nation’s vision for a green economy and our commitment to sustainable growth,” Shaikha Lubna said. “Shaikha Lubna gives powerful voice to our country at Rio+20 because innovation does not end at our borders. Under her patronage, we are eager to share how the advancements we are making at home can empower others through the incubation of advanced clean technologies, cross-border economic investments, and critical development assistance around the world,” Al Jaber said.