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Can Oil-Rich Dubai Possibly Go Green?

The emirate wants to transition from extravagant consumption to cleanly powered extravagant consumption.
Men stand in front of solar panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai on November 28.
Men stand in front of solar panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai on November 28.REUTERS / Ashraf Mohammad Mohammad Alamra

The city of Dubai faces more energy challenges than most. It’s extremely hot there, so they have to keep people cool when the temperature soars past 100 degrees. They have the world’s tallest building, which must generate one of the world’s longest electricity bills. And then there’s that mall with a ski resort and a flock of penguins. Those penguins need their snow.

To power all these services, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, wants to go green in a characteristically monumental way. He wants to put solar panels on all the city’s rooftops by 2030.