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World Future Energy Summit Roundup: Vestas, Total, Masdar

Here is a round-up of news that came out of the World Future Energy Summit, the Abu Dhabi conference that closed yesterday:

Wind turbine maker Vestas debuted WindMade, a label to designate products manufactured with wind power. The manufacturer hopes to have 1,000 companies signed up as partners by the beginning of 2012, Fast Company says.

Vestas also won the Zayed Future Energy Prize for innovation and leadership in sustainability, and promptly put half its $1.5 million winnings into the WindMade mark. More surprisingly, Vestas gave the other half to three of the six finalists for the prize: Seventh Generation Advisors, India’s Barefoot College, and thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar.

Total’s Arnaud Chaperon said that by the end of the decade, solar power costs would approach US¢10/kWh. He also highlighted the potential of genetically engineered yeast as a means of producing second generation biofuels.

Ernst Moniz of MIT’s Energy Initiative said the main stumbling block for renewables in the U.S. is how to move forward without a carbon price signal. He also expects significant research into light water nuclear reactors.

U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-Moon said energy advancements aren’t reaching citizens in developing countries, where 1.6 billion people currently don’t have electricity. Energy consumption could rise by 40 percent within two decades, he said.

“Our challenge is transformation,” Ban said. “We need a global clean energy revolution — a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all.”

One of the most popular draws for delegates appears to have been a tour of development at Masdar City, which is billed as the world’s first zero-carbon city – with the highlight a ride in a driverless vehicle.

Efforts by conference host the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to minimize their carbon emissions could serve as a model for the rest of the Gulf region, said Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, according to UAE news site The National.

The UAE ranks seventh in the world for both oil and gas production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the country has become a net importer of natural gas due to rising domestic demand for subsidized energy and electricity.

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