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Masdar's modest masterplan

No energy generation at Masdar City, but zero-carbon goal remains.

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Masdar City will become the world's first zero carbon city.
Masdar City will become the world's first zero carbon city.

 Masdar City has scaled back plans to produce all of its energy on site and has extended its deadline for completion to 2020, the developer revealed today.

As part of a revised master plan for the US$22 billion eco-city, Masdar has said that it is unlikely that the city will be powered solely by on site power, but will remain solely reliable on renewable energy. The developer has also limited plans for a city-wide network of electric cars, which were designed to shuttle residents between their homes and offices.

Alan Frost, Masdar director, told Construction Week that despite the revisions to the master plan, the aspiration to make Masdar zero-carbon, zero-waste and car free remained.

“The aspiration and the vision hasn’t changed, but it’s going to take us some time to get to where we want to get to. We’ve learned a lot along the way, we’ve learned that we were very bold in our aspirations, but we’re not giving up on the vision,” said Frost.

The revised master plan also revealed that the deadline for Masdar City had been pushed forward by six years, with the possibility that the project would not be finished until 2025, but Frost said that both technological and commercial considerations were behind the decision.

“We’re not going to build ahead of the market, we’re going to build to market demand," said Frost.

“We think there is going to be a very good market demand in Masdar City but it will be completed between 2020 and 2025. We’re not putting an exact date on that because it based on take-up and demand, and that’s something that we cannot forecast at the moment.”
The scaling back of plans for a citywide network of electric cars, which were designed to shuttle residents between their homes and offices, was due to changes in the market, Frost said.

“It really doesn’t make sense to lock us into more of the PRT when in reality we’ve also got a two year window before we actually need to put a transport system on the ground for new tenants,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gerard Evenden, senior Partner at Foster + Partners, the designers of Masdar City hit back at those who argue that the project could not, or would not, get built.

“As far as we can see it is still the only project that is actually building in this way and carrying out what it said. There have been lots of projects around the world claiming they will be zero carbon or carbon neutral and none have been built – actually what we have done is achieved a huge amount by getting the institute open and physically having a place called Masdar,” he said.

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