Green energy in the oil-heavy Middle East may seem like an oxymoron, but when a natural resource can only go so far, green technology finds its way to the sands of the Arabian peninsula. In particular, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are expanding at freight train speeds, and the latest evidence is the fully sustainable city of Masdar, 20 miles from Abu Dhabi in the middle of the desert.

Built around the Masdar Institute, a research facility for sustainable energy, the architects designing the city are making it carbon-neutral. A lot of amazing renewable energy is at work in this place, and this is probably the template for future urban sprawl and development in the Middle East if it works.

The potential for the application of something like this in the United States down the line could be a big technological explosion, but it gets tricky when thinking about scale and cost. Nevertheless, green energy in places that have archaic or no energy to begin with is the wave of the future, and Masdar is the beginning.