"Abu Dhabi is an oil-exporting country, and we want to become an energy-exporting country and to do that we need to excel at the newer forms of energy," said Khaled Awad, director of a zero-carbon city rising in the Abu Dhabi desert.
The second annual World Future Energy Summit, which starts Monday in Abu Dhabi, signals the region's intent to maintain its hold on energy production, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
While grant money is tight elsewhere, King Abdulla University of Science and Technology awarded a Stanford University researcher $25 million in 2008 to find a way to reduce the cost of solar energy production.
The university also gave a California researcher $8 million to develop environmentally-friendly concrete.
Abu Dhabi's crown prince said in January he will invest $15 billion in green energy, the same amount President-elect Barack Obama proposed to kick start "a clean energy future" in the United States, the Times said.
In developing future energy sources, Arabian countries have two advantages: Money from oil to fund projects and plenty of sunshine to research solar power, the Times said.