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UAE plans $163 billion spend on sustainable energy

UAE plans $163 billion spend on sustainable energy

The UAE will invest Dh600 billion ($163 billion) until 2050 to meet the growing energy demand and ensure the sustainable growth of the economy, said the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) in a new report.

The UAE has taken early steps to bid farewell to the last barrel of oil, and achieve a balance between development and maintaining a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to achieve an energy mix that combines renewable and clean energy sources to balance economic requirements and environmental goals.

The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050

Dubai has become an international pioneer in developing the clean and renewable energy sector. It has developed a number of techniques and practices to enhance the efficiency of the energy sector while rationalising consumption and finding alternative solutions to conventional energy. This supports the sustainable development of the Emirate.

The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aims to provide seven per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2020. This target will increase to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050. Dubai is the only city in the region to have launched such a promising strategy, with set goals and timelines that map the future of energy until 2050.
The strategy consists of five main pillars: infrastructure, legislation, funding, building capacities and skills, and having an environment-friendly energy mix. The infrastructure pillar includes initiatives such as the Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar energy project in the world, with a planned total production capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, and a total investment of Dh50 billion.

Dubai to be the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050

“We are working to achieve the ambitious vision of our wise leadership within the framework of federal and local strategies, including the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and Dubai Plan 2021. Our strategies and business plans are inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Rule of Dubai, for the Emirate to be the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,”said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer MD & CEO of Dewa.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the key projects to achieve this vision. Since its launch, the solar park’s projects see considerable interest from international developers, reflecting the confidence of international investors in the projects that are supported by Dubai Government,” he added.
“We are proud that the solar park, which bears the name of an exceptional personality who is leading the sustainable development of Dubai, was recognised as one of the UAE Pioneers, an achievement that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan would have been proud of.
“Naming the solar park as one of the UAE pioneers drives us to continue our efforts to achieve the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which guides us in all our projects and initiatives and achieve the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to produce 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2050,” Al Tayer concluded.

TradeArabia News Service

Renewable Energy Situation in Kuwait

Renewable Energy Situation in Kuwait

In September 26, 2018, Salman Zafar wrote about the Renewable Energy Situation in Kuwait as follows.

The renewable energy sector is in nascent stages in Kuwait, however there has been heightened activity in recent years mainly on account of the need for diversification of energy resources, climate change concerns and greater public awareness. The oil-rich State of Kuwait has embarked on a highly ambitious journey to meet 15 per cent of its energy requirements (approximately 2000 MW) from renewable resources by 2030.

One of the most promising developments is the kick-starting of the initial phase of 2GW Shagaya Renewable Energy Park in December last year. As per conservative estimates, more than $8 billion investment will have to be made to achieve renewable energy targets in Kuwait. 

And here we are 6 months later.

Shagaya 2000 MW multi technology renewable energy park (Image Courtesy

Kuwait inaugurates renewable energy park

KUWAIT CITY, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) on Wednesday announced the full operation of the first phase of the Shagaya Renewable Energy Park in the northwestern governorate of Jahra.

The announcement was made by Samira Omar, director general of KISR, at the opening ceremony of the energy park which “has a capacity of 70 megawatts and is connected to the national electricity grid.”

The complex is composed of a solar thermal power station, a wind power station and a photovoltaic station, Omar said.

It is designed as a world-class facility with a mix of renewable energy technologies to maximize the efficiency of electricity production per square meter in the Kuwaiti desert, she added.

According to the Kuwaiti official, the complex can help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 5 million tons per year.

Meanwhile, Khaled al-Fadhel, Kuwaiti oil minister, described the Shagaya project as a “pioneer” in the country’s ambition to provide 15 percent of its power needs from renewable sources by 2030.

Transitioning the Grid to Renewables

Transitioning the Grid to Renewables

One of the ongoing arguments that the forces opposed to dealing with climate change make is that transitioning the grid to renewables will be economically devastating.  A nuance that’s emerging is that a mixed grid with lots of fossil fuels is economically superior.  It isn’t, and it’s worth pulling together the set of arguments for why.

An All-Renewable Grid Is Economically Superior To Mixed Generation

January 23rd, 2019 by Michael Barnard 

We have to start by asking ourselves what we mean when we say ‘economically superior’. The Exxon-Valdez disaster of 1989 spilled 35,000 metric tons of oil into sensitive waters off of Alaska. Was that an economic benefit or negative? It depends on what lens you use. One of the odd impacts of the spill was a short-term economic uptick in jobs and business due to the massive oil spill cleanup efforts. In the long term, tourism, fisheries and related industries have continued to be impacted, but if you picked your timeframe the disaster could be read as an economic benefit.

Similarly, the US healthcare system has a very high per-capita cost with poorer outcomes than other roughly equivalent societies, yet the healthcare industry in the USA is a massive economic driver. Is the poor structuring and payment system in the USA a net economic benefit or a net economic negative?

In context of economic benefits, we have to cast our nets across a broader rather than narrower set of topics and a broader rather than narrower timeframe in other words.

Power generation mixes

The question boils down to whether a solely renewable grid is superior to a grid with a remaining substantial percentage of fossil fuel generation mitigated with carbon capture and sequestration.

The first contains a couple of variants that are worth exploring a bit. The first variant is a fully electrified economy, with industry, agriculture, transportation and the like all using electricity generated by renewables and stored in some interim form, mostly batteries but also hydrogen in some cases and (cleaner) manufactured hydrocarbons in others. The second variant adds biofuels from woodchips, biodiesel, and biomethane sources to the mixture with continued thermal generation of electricity and greater continued use of internal combustion and diesel engines for transportation.

The partially fossil fuel grid assumes that the negative externalities of fossil fuel generation and transportation fuels can be managed. The expectation is that these will be internalized in the cost rather than remain uncosted negative externalities. This includes carbon dioxide and methane emissions which cause global warming, with the Pigovian tax being some combination of a straight carbon tax, cap and trade, and regulation. This would enforce carbon capture and sequestration in theory, although the practice remains so uneconomic it’s hard to see it working. Pollution negative externalities include loss of productivity via multiple causal mechanisms, additional burdens on healthcare systems and premature loss of life.


The timeframe is important. Carbon emissions today create economic impacts 20–100 years from now. Pollution emissions today create economic impacts that are both immediate and long-term, as the Exxon Valdez example shows. Burning fossil fuels for transportation and generation, in other words, requires us to view longer term, not quarterly or annual economic cycles.


There are a couple of additional pieces to the puzzle. A key one is viability. Can we actually transform our global economy to one powered by renewable energy, regardless of storage?

Yes, we can. The go-to source for this is the work of Dr. Mark Jacobsen out of Stanford. The Solutions Project he spearheads looks at the transformation globally through 2050. That gives us the timeframe necessary, but to be clear, Jacobsen is only looking at direct economic impacts of jobs and the like. He’s ignoring negative externalities in his work.

As the infographic shows, across the largest 139 countries in the world, there are two primary economic metrics he calls out.


Renewables create a lot more jobs than the increasingly capital-intensive fossil fuel industry. Putting up 100 3.3 MW wind turbines across a few dozen square miles of Idaho and then maintaining them takes more people than the equivalent generation in gas or coal.

This can perhaps be most clearly seen in the jobless recovery in Canada’s oil sands, where economic recovery did not see a return of the thousands of jobs for workers whose jobs had been automated in the efficiency drive of the recession. Traveling to Brazil is instructive, as Petrobras remains a governmentally-owned oil company and is vertically integrated. There are half-a-dozen service people at every gas station and it takes four times as much labor per barrel in their refineries. This is because Petrobras is a governmental mechanism for balancing employment numbers, not an efficiently run organization. It’s a dying breed globally, when even Saudi Aramco has floated shifting to private ownership.

Right now in the USA, there are more people employed in the solar industry alone than in the entire fossil fuel industry. Add in wind generation and the necessary transmission and distribution of electricity. Add in Tesla’s employees and all of the businesses working on the transition to electrified transportation. There’s a big jobs gain to be had in the transition.

Read more on the CleanTechnica original document.

Britain’s electricity away from fossil fuels

Britain’s electricity away from fossil fuels

Britain has shifted 30% of its electricity away from fossil fuels in just nine years

File 20190109 32133 1e3lkxq.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
By Joe Dunckley / shutterstock

Grant Wilson, University of Birmingham and Iain Staffell, Imperial College London

Nine years ago, Britain generated nearly 75% of its electricity using natural gas and coal. In 2018, this dropped to under 45% – a remarkable transition away from fossil fuels in under a decade.

As energy efficiency improved, demand fell, and the UK generated less electricity than at any point since 1994. Our own analysis below looks at the past year, using similar data for Great Britain (as Northern Ireland has a separate power system), and we include net imports from France, the Netherlands and Ireland as an overall part of electrical generation. Here are a few things we found:

In 2018, Britain was coal-free for a record 1,898 hours – that’s up from just 200 hours in 2016. Coal generation fell for the sixth year in a row, and the country now has substantial periods without coal power (the longest stretch was just over three days straight).

For comparison, the 5% of electricity generated from coal was a broadly similar level to the combined total of solar and hydro (see table at end of the article). Wind increased its output to 17% of the total, and combined with solar these two renewables generated more electricity than nuclear – another significant milestone.

However, low levels of coal generation averaged across the year mask its importance at times when the electrical demand is particularly high. For example, over the week of the Beast from the East cold snap in February 2018, the gas system experienced significant stress and coal stepped in to provide nearly a quarter of Britain’s electricity. As coal generation is set to be phased out by 2025, the electrical system needs to continue to find alternative power sources to cope during extreme weather events.

Our analysis shows that annual renewable generation has increased by 27 terawatt hours (TWh) over the three years since 2015. This is particularly impressive considering the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will produce a similar annual amount of electricity but will take three times as long to build (from contract signing).

Challenges ahead

But what about the decade ahead? Could Britain repeat its success since 2010 and reduce its coal and natural gas generation by a further 30 percentage points? Under this scenario, the country would then generate just a sixth of its electricity from fossil fuels.

It’s definitely possible, but the next decade will be more challenging for two main reasons: the demand for electricity is expected to rise rather than fall, and incorporating ever greater levels of variable renewable generation will need additional flexibility.

To achieve this, new renewable generation – new solar panels, new turbines, new hydro, tidal, marine and biomass generation – will have to replace an estimated 100 TWh per year (about four Hinkley Point Cs) from fossil fuels. That would require a build programme that was broadly 50% greater than the previous nine years.

Given the continued development of offshore wind in particular, this seems challenging but achievable. Solar and wind prices keep falling, which will help. Indeed, the UK’s business and energy secretary Greg Clarke recently said that “it is looking likely that by the mid 2020s, green power will be the cheapest power. It can be zero subsidy”.

What if all these cars were electric?
Jaroslaw Kilian / Shutterstock

However, at some point over the next decade, electrical demand will stop falling as electric vehicles gain market share from fossil fuel vehicles, and electrical heating for homes becomes more popular. As an indication of the scale of the transport demand, in 2017 UK cars and taxis travelled 254 billion miles. If all those journeys were taken in electric vehicles about as efficient as the latest Hyundai or Tesla then total electrical demand would increase by a quarter (over 80 TWh).

These vehicles would need the equivalent of three Hinkley Point Cs to charge them over the year.

This is also a similar level to current generation from renewables. The UK also needs to consider how to fill the gap that would be lost from fuel duty, which is forecast to raise around £28 billion this financial year.

If charging these vehicles adds to electrical demand at peak times, there would be substantial new infrastructure costs (more pylons, stronger electrical sub-stations). If Britain adopts a smarter system, fleets of electric vehicles could provide network support by changing their times of charging or even providing electricity back to the grid. This could provide a massive new form of flexibility that is needed to accommodate greater levels of weather dependent renewable generation. This is not an easy task, though, and needs better communication between vehicle, owner and power companies.

Steady progress

Overall, 2018 saw steady progress for low carbon generation, including record months for wind, biomass and, mid-heatwave, solar:

Great Britain’s renewables – percent of monthly generation.
Dr Grant Wilson

Looking to 2019, with more renewable capacity being installed, it is possible that solar could overtake coal, and renewables could generate more than nuclear for every single month. They could also generate more than coal and gas combined over a month for the first ever time. If any of these do happen, it will be yet another indication of the speed at which Britain’s electricity system is changing.

The electrical generation data is from Elexon and National Grid. Data from other analyses (such as BEIS or DUKES) will differ due to methodologies and additional data, particularly by including combined heat and power, and other on-site generation which is not monitored by Elexon and National Grid.
Renewables in this analysis = wind + solar + hydro + biomass.

The Conversation

Grant Wilson, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham and Iain Staffell, Lecturer in Sustainable Energy, Imperial College London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Solar Power bringing Fresh Water to Yemen

Solar Power bringing Fresh Water to Yemen

VAT and oil prices being amongst the main factors in any debates in most parts of the GCC countries with the number of job vacancies advertised for professionals increasing being the hottest. As Middle East stocks enjoyed a buoyant July with Qatar and the UAE making gains, and differing domestic catalysts enabled most regional bourses to advance. While Saudi stutters as put by local media, in the UAE property business, supply outpaced demand because there is plenty of with more retail space still planned even as rents fall, and vacancies are up. Furthermore, start-up funding in the UAE received more than in Saudi Arabia and Egypt that managed growth according to a local analyst. In the meantime, in Oman, the insurance sector is optimistic with its Capital Market Authority (CMA) that announced last month a decision to introduce a mandatory health insurance system for private sector employees. Banks help Kuwait stock market gain some optimism with profitability boosted by rising interest rates and increased economic activity from some relatively modest rise in oil prices.  

Solar Power bringing Fresh Water to Yemen

It is against this background that despite the on-going war, the United Nations Migration Agency, has made steps towards helping the supply of fresh water using solar power. It is elaborated on in this article posted on July 11, 2018 by the IOM in its well known theme of Community Stabilization.

Secretary of Amanat Al Asimah in Sana’a, Yemen officially inaugurates IOM’s Solar Water Initiatives. Photos: IOM/Saba Malme

Solar Power Delivers Water to Tens of Thousands of Yemenis

Sana’a – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, yesterday (10/07) handed over a large-scale solar power water project to the Government of Yemen that is helping to deliver approximately one million litres of water daily to 55,000 people in a country facing chronic water shortages.

Power generated by the 940 solar panels installed on three schools in Amanat Al Asimah and Sana’a Governorates began pumping water to residents of the neighbourhoods of Shu’aub, Al Madinah Al Syahya, and Sho’ob two weeks ago.

IOM’s solar power water project in Yemen, where 90 per cent of the population lacks access to sufficient water, aims to provide conflict-affected communities with alternative methods of accessing clean water. Many people are forced to use unsafe sources of water, which is a clear contributor to the recent cholera outbreak.

Solar energy, collected through photovoltaic (solar) panels, powers deep water pumps and water supply systems. This method cuts dependency and the high recurrent costs of fuel-based technology. An estimated 150,000 litres of diesel and 500 tonnes of carbon emissions will be saved annually due to the environmentally friendly water system in Sana’a.

The project provides essential water supply in places where supply and prices of fuel and other basic commodities are greatly affected by the ongoing conflict and are erratic at best.

Hamoud Obad, Governor of Sana’a, and Abdalah Al Hadi, the Deputy Minister of the Water and Sanitation Authority joined Stefano Pes, IOM Yemen’s Head of Emergency, Transition and Recovery at the official ceremony Tuesday in Sana’a.

This initiative is supported by the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Government of Germany. IOM plans to expand this project throughout Yemen to contribute to the sustainable solarization in the country.

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel:+ 967 736 800 329; Email:


Morocco is advancing towards Energy Independence

Morocco is advancing towards Energy Independence

Forbes Middle East Energy‘s Farah Al-Toukhi‘s article is about how Morocco is advancing towards Energy Independence. It had unlike all those countries of the MENA that for decades have become synonymous with oil and gas production and trade, to move into the renewables and is rapidly growing into those inexpensive and clean energy developments.  

Morocco is advancing towards Energy Independence with a new $170M Wind Farm 

Being the only North African country without any sizeable oil and gas reserves, Morocco has long been an energy importer. But with an eye on energy independence, the country is moving on to adopt renewable energy as it invests in multiple power projects. 

As part of such reforms within its energy mix, the government has pledged to produce 42% of electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2020 and 52% by 2030. 

Last week, Morocco took the first step towards achieving the goal of establishing renewable energy production through the inauguration of the 120 MW Khalladi wind farm in the city of Tangier. Built at a cost of $170 million, the farm was developed by the Riyadh-headquartered firm ACWA Power. 

For an energy importer like Morocco, the launch of the wind farm could fast track its ambitions to reduce its energy dependence. 

“We are privileged to be contributing to the durability of Morocco’s economic and social development through the implementation an efficient environment friendly energy policy which is bringing online significant capacity of reliable electricity supplies utilizing the renewable energy resources that the Kingdom is richly endowed with thus reducing energy import bill and conserving foreign currency for decades to come,” said Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power. 

“We are also proud to not only be able to deliver renewable energy at the lowest possible cost to the industries and people of the Kingdom but also add value to social and economic development of the country and the communities within which our power plants are located by maximizing local content and local employment creation and by contributing to community development. 

“Khalladi wind farm is also the first transaction in the Kingdom of Morocco which is eligible to IRECs green credits and has also secured the Gold Standard certification, representing hence ACWA Power’s commitment to dock with Morocco’s vision and UN SDGs to climate and sustainable development.” 

This new addition to the efforts of Morocco’s green plan is a privately funded investment that was financed by ACWA Power and ARIF investment fund. The wind farm is estimated to supply power to a city of 400,000 people and will reduce more than 144,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. 

“Morocco’s energy sector offers attractive investment opportunities, due to a well-established regulatory framework put in place by the Moroccan government and due to the country having already attracted significant investments in solar and wind energy all of which has made it possible for ACWA Power to, within six years, deliver the NOORo I solar plant (160 MWe) and the Khalladi wind farm (120MW) and a series of other investments in construction which by the end of 2018 will amount to 800 MW of generation capacity in the Kingdom,” added ACWA Power Chairman Mohammad Abunayyan. 

Egypt’s concern for its Nile River downstream portion

Egypt’s concern for its Nile River downstream portion

In a previous article titled French on Grand Renaissance Dam EIA, we discussed Egypt’s concern for its Nile River downstream portion being investigated by French environmentalist firms. Here is a continuation of the story but as reported by Asharq Al Awsat.

The picture above is of Men fish from boats during low tide on the river Nile in Cairo, Egypt, November 19, 2015. (File Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) Cairo- Asharq Al Awsat

Egypt Rallies Support from Nile Upstream States

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Egypt continues with its strategic approach to enhance its position among Nile Basin countries in particular, and strengthen African relations in general, hoping to rally support for its policies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which it says will affect its share of the Nile waters.

The last three rounds of negotiations did not yield much progress at the level of the negotiations between the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) and the upstream state (Ethiopia).

Both Adis Ababa and Khartoum insist on rejecting the preliminary report by a French firm (agreed by the three) on the economic, environmental and social impacts of the dam. Whereas, Cairo announced its acceptance of the report.

The Egyptian steps appeared to have positive effects especially after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, said during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that extended an invitation to Sisi to visit Uganda and become the first Egyptian President to tour the Source of River Nile.

The Egyptian-Ugandan summit discussed the Nile basin issue and joint cooperation, as well as the signing of agreements between the two countries in the fields of agriculture, irrigation, engineering and electricity.

“The two presidents discussed the Nile water issue, and they both agreed on the importance of enhancing cooperation between the Nile basin states to achieve sustainable use of the water resources in favor of the common interests of the peoples of upstream and downstream countries,” Egypt’s presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in the statement.

The spokesman indicated that President Sisi welcomed the consensus of views of both countries regarding different political issues, hailing the Ugandan president’s efforts to reach political settlements for the crises facing the continent and to boost anti-terrorism efforts in Africa.

Egypt has intensified its efforts in the continent, especially in the past two months, and the Foreign Minister toured several countries including Burundi, Kenya and South Sudan, while Cairo received Kenyan President and his Ugandan counterpart.

The Egyptian meetings were not limited to diplomatic talks, but some of them included the launch of development projects provided by Egypt to Burundi within the framework of the programs and projects of support provided by the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development (EAPD) of Foreign Ministry to African countries.


GCC opening up to major solar energy projects

GCC opening up to major solar energy projects

Per S&P, Global Ratings, a leader in financial research and analysis, the GCC opening up to major solar energy projects, is taking advantage of its sunny climate and large tracts of available land. 

Most of the GCC countries–Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates–are well placed to benefit from solar power, given their extremely favourable climate and the ample amount of land at their disposal, especially in the sparsely settled desert, S&P Global Ratings explained in its new report titled “Heating Up: The GCC Is Jumping Into Renewable Energy In A Big Way”.

The GCC is increasing solar generation capacity at a time when the global renewable energy industry is growing strongly, supported by key developments such as the push by world governments and policymakers to combat climate change, a steady decline in renewable generation costs over the past decade, and continued technological advancements. S&P Global Ratings expects most GCC countries to continue invest in solar efforts in the years to come.

The UAE has launched some major solar projects over the past few years, while Saudi Arabia announced the largest-ever project last month.

Key takeaways

•    Saudi Arabia’s SoftBank solar project–billed as the world’s largest–is to have a capacity of 200,000MWonce complete by 2030, Dubai continues to develop its 5,000 MW solar park, Abu Dhabi is developing its 1,177MWSweihan plant, and Kuwait is expected to tender a 1,000MWproject in 2018.

•    S&P Global Ratings expects solar investment in the GCC to continue to increase quickly over the next decade.

•    While all projects announced to date are bank-funded, we expect that some might be refinanced via the capital markets once they are operational.

Declining costs spurring renewable investment

Renewable power installation costs have been declining sharply over the past decade and technological improvements have increased efficiencies. Together, these developments are driving down renewable generation costs, creating a viable alternative to traditional carbon-based electricity generation.

In 2016 alone 75 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was completed, and last year renewables represented two-thirds of new generation added to the global grid, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) report Renewables 2017. Furthermore, the IEA says, in the next five years, renewable generation will grow at twice the rate of gas and coal combined.

The cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has decreased at an average annual rate of about 10 per cent since 1980, according to the Oxford University paper, “How predictable is technological progress?”

Meanwhile, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) states that in 2017 the modules were more than 80 per cent cheaper relative to their 2009 levels. What’s more, the cost of electricity generation by solar PV declined by about three-quarters between 2010 and 2017, according to the group’s paper “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017”.

The steady decline in costs continues to support industrial growth. According to data from the “Renewables 2017 Global Status Report,” total solar PV capacity grew at compounded average rate of 48 per cent between 2006 and 2016, reaching about 303 GW by the end of 2016.

The GCC’s efforts to become a large producer of solar energy come at a time when its energy consumption has increased substantially in the past two decades in line with fast-paced population growth, investments in energy-intensive industries, as well as growing water desalination efforts. While rich in hydrocarbon reserves, GCC countries also enjoy two key prerequisites for renewables, specifically solar.

First, GCC countries enjoy very high solar radiation levels and a large number of sunlight hours throughout the year–two factors crucial for efficient and economically viable solar electricity generation. Close to 60 per cent of the GCC’s land surface area has excellent suitability for solar PV deployment, according to the Irena paper “Renewable Energy Market Analysis, The GCC Region.”

Even developing only 1 per cent of this area could create almost 470 GW of additional power generation capacity, the agency said. That compares with the region’s current power generation capacity of 151 GW, according to a report by Arab Petroleum Investments Corp. (APICORP) in April 2018.

Secondly, the land use requirement for solar power farms is significant as the solar panels deployed to catch sunlight take up very large surface areas. For example, the Sweihan solar PV plant, currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, is reported to spread over an area of 7.8 sq km.

For many countries, using land for solar installation typically represents a big opportunity cost in terms of economically valuable land that otherwise could be used for farming, industry, and cities. However, given the size of available, barren land in most GCC countries, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the opportunity costs are low.

If GCC nations meet their solar energy targets, they could save huge amounts of oil and gas. Irena estimated in a 2016 study that achieving those reported targets could result in cumulative savings of 2.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent between 2015 and 2030. These resources could be used instead for local consumption or domestic petrochemical industries.

One key hurdle in building solar, particularly in the GCC region, is dust, which accumulates on the surface of panels and reduces their performance, boosting cleaning costs and generally creating challenges in the operation and maintenance of plants. However, various solutions are gradually emerging such as self-cleaning nanotechnology panels, which are forecast to further increase the efficiency of solar PV.

Source: TradeArabia News Service


MENA Nuclear aspiring countries extends to

MENA Nuclear aspiring countries extends to

Nuclear power is planned in over 20 countries which do not currently have it, and under some level of consideration in over 20 more (in a few, consideration is not necessarily at government level). It adds that the MENA Nuclear aspiring countries extends to the Gulf states including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait whereas Yemen, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Sudan have either some capacity or envisage to implement some program of enhancing energy security and reducing reliance on fossil fuel resourcing. 

Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries (Updated January 2018) informs that today in the world, over 45 countries are actively considering embarking upon nuclear power programs.

Meanwhile, per WNN, Nuclear electricity generation capacity in the Middle East is expected to increase from 3.6 gigawatts this year to 14.1 GWe by 2028 thanks to new construction start-ups and recent agreements between Middle Eastern countries and nuclear vendors, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said yesterday. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will lead near-term growth by installing 5.4 GWe of nuclear capacity by 2020, it said.

Rosatom makes nuclear history in Egypt

Sebastian Shehadi | 27/03/2018 

Egypt is building its first nuclear power plant, a $30bn project awarded to Russian energy company Rosatom and partly funded by a loan from Russia. Sebastian Shehadi reports.

Russia’s global energy giant, Rosatom, is building Egypt’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) for $30bn, at the behest of the Egyptian government.

The NPP will be located in El-Dabaa, 130km north-west of Cairo and adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, the plant’s cooling source. The site has been earmarked for a nuclear plant since the 1980s, although political crises have delayed it.

Egypt’s population of 90 million, vast electricity demands and strong relationship with Russia led the two country’s presidents to meet in 2015 and pledge a nuclear partnership alongside the ‘fight against terrorism’. Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East and north Africa since the Syrian war lends great political significance to the NPP, which is the largest joint project between Egypt and Russia since the opening of the Aswan Dam in 1970.

Rosatom’s advantage

El-Dabaa represents the largest non-feedstock deal in Russian history and, when commissioned in 2024, will be the first nuclear plant in North Africa and the second on the whole African continent. Its price tag is $30bn, 85% of which is a loan from the Russian state while Egypt provides the remaining 15% in the form of installments. Following bids by three companies in mid-2015, Egypt awarded the contract to state-owned Rosatom and signed the formal notice to proceed in December 2017.

Alexander Voronkov, director of Rosatom Middle East and North Africa, says Rosatom won the bid “because we are a global leader in the nuclear industry, offering cutting-edge Generation 3+ reactor technology that has been tried and tested and is successfully operating in Russia”. 

He adds: “Another advantage is that our integrated offer has no equivalent in the world, which enables us to provide turnkey solutions and the full range of nuclear services, from NPP construction to its decommissioning… [that] spans the NPP’s entire lifecycle [of] 70 to 80 years.”

Mr Voronkov also emphasises the two countries’ long history of co-operation in the nuclear field that goes back 60 years. Egypt’s first nuclear research reactor, the country’s first step towards developing its future nuclear programme, was built by Russian scientists. Numerous Egyptian specialists at the time benefited from the Soviet science and research experience.

The impact of El-Dabaa

NPPs can boost economic growth and development, pulling millions of people out of energy poverty, creating jobs and strengthening growth in the hi-tech sector. They also promote low-carbon economies and diversify countries’ energy portfolio – vital for oil-dependent or energy-importing nations – while also guaranteeing the price of electricity for its entire operational lifetime.

Mr Voronkov says El-Dabaa will significantly boost Egypt’s GDP, create up to 2000 construction jobs and increase the quality of human capital through professional education. Rosatom will assist Egypt both in the training of NPP personnel and future nuclear scientists. Dozens of Egyptian students are already studying at Russian technical universities.

Other significant benefits Mr Voronkov highlights are “local companies’ involvement in the supply chain”, directly and indirectly, and “tax revenues from the project – with an NPP typically becoming the largest taxpayer in the region – [driving] growth in the population’s purchase power and, consequently, growth in orders for industries servicing consumer demand”.

He adds that “the development of nuclear technologies will open up opportunities for a wide range of their non-power applications, including seawater desalination, nuclear medicine, agricultural irradiation and much more. The El-Dabaa project is, therefore, considered to mark the dawn of a new era not just for Egypt’s energy sector but for the country overall.”

More locally, NPP will also stimulate the development of the region surrounding the future plant, says Mr Voronkov. Currently barren desert, it could become a new tourism cluster.

Fears assuaged?

When asked if politics could derail El-Dabaa’s construction and output, Mr Voronkov says: “We are talking long-term projects, which is why nuclear power, alongside nuclear science and nuclear and radiation safety, historically remain outside the current political discourse and relations between countries.”

He adds that between 1993 and 2013, during the global Megatons to Megawatts Program, “there was significant instability in US-Russian political relations, but not for a moment did that affect or hamper implementation on either side of the Atlantic”.

Despite the current presidential elections, political risk is fairly low in Egypt. “We can expect zero impact on policy from this election. The army continues to occupy prime political position,” says Hasnain Malik, global head of equity research at developing markets investment bank Exotix Capital.

Segments of the Egyptian populace have voiced fears surrounding the risks of nuclear energy at El-Dabaa. Consequently, says Mr Voronkov, Rosatom and its Egyptian partners “are currently planning activities aimed at driving public acceptance of nuclear power in the country. We have accumulated years’ worth of experience in this type of education, drawing on the world’s best practices, and are ready to provide any support necessary in aiding the Egyptian side’s efforts in educating the local population on the benefits of nuclear energy”.


Solar Outlook in the 2018 MENA region

Solar Outlook in the 2018 MENA region

A report on the Solar Outlook in the 2018 MENA region prepared by the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) through its prominent member companies has just been published.  Its conclusion is excerpted for good measure here below in its entirety.

After all prevailing solar trends in 2018 introduced, a review of the main solar projects with an emphasis on certain large-scale PV projects was carried out. The MENA countries leading solar PV markets were assessed with the respective government’s shifting priorities brought to light.

Rooftop solar projects, energy storage and all technological advances be they, digitalisation of solar hardware and of course the electric car were reviewed and with a case study of the UAE proposed. In any case, it looks as if 2018 in the MENA region would be expected to be the year for a massive roll-out of solar energy.

In the meantime, the MENA’s solar capacity on the ground is as at early 2018, 1.36 GW, led by Jordan with 467 MW, Algeria with 353 MW and the UAE with 323 MW.

In our view, all MENA region’s governments should on top of what is described in this report adopt a common Energy Strategy to manage the change of their respective energy systems whilst trying to make them as sustainable, secure and above all as competitive as they could.


The MESIA’s report conclusion is:

2018 announces itself as the year for massive roll-out of solar energy in the MENA region. Saudi Arabia and UAE will continue leading the industry in the GCC, with expected tenders for more than 3 GW of solar PV in Saudi Arabia, more than 1.5 GW of solar PV in the UAE, and 1 CSP project to reach financial close in Dubai in the course of 2018. We will see more large-scale projects popping up across the entire MENA region (e.g. Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar). Large-scale solar remains pretty much on-track.

As far as rooftop solar is concerned, there is still some work to be done on the regulatory side in most markets. Most notably, for rooftop solar to take substantial market share, we will need to see government regulators do their part and adopt policies that promote solar energy, e.g. through net-metering schemes. Regional financiers and bankers need to be further educated on innovative and sustainable ways of financing rooftop solar. The first steps are taken, but more work remains to be done.

Just like in 2017, we expect to see further adoption of storage solutions (e.g. batteries, pumped hydro, etc.) across the Middle East. Storage and demand-response solutions provide additional flexibility to the transmission system and curb peak load.

2018 will be a record year for solar and its associated technologies in MENA through:

  •    A high number of tenders announced for large scale solar;
  •    Plenty of opportunities for distributed solar in the C&I and rooftop solar segment;
  •    Further adoption of EVs and green mobility;
  •    First of a kind opportunities for storage using different storage technologies; and
  •    Potential new regulatory frameworks for wheeling and energy management.

We are confident there will be plenty of opportunities for all of our MESIA members and look forward to reporting to you on our collective success in the 2019 edition of MESIA’s Solar Outlook Report

Middle East Renewables to triple share of Energy Mix

Middle East Renewables to triple share of Energy Mix

An Asharq Al-Awsat news item reports that new onshore wind and solar energy projects are set to deliver electricity more cheaply than fossil fuels plants per a new cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), within two years “all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range, with most at the lower end or undercutting fossil fuels”. adding that  “This new dynamic signals a significant shift in the energy paradigm,” said IRENA’s Director-General, Adnan Amin, in a statement. Would this affect the Oil exporting countries of the MENA? Gulf Business has the answer that is Middle East renewables to triple share of energy mix that according to Siemens forecasts natural gas will become the region’s number one power source by 2035.

Meanwhile, The Independent of the UK produced this article written by Josh Gabbatiss, Science Correspondent this morning. It would certainly not anybody by surprise because of the seed with which technological change is happening.

Renewable energy set to be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020, according to new report

Some solar energy projects are expected to deliver electricity by 2p or less by next year Getty

‘Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one’

Some solar energy projects are expected to deliver electricity by 2p or less by next year Getty

Renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels in two years, according to a new report.

Experts predict that investment in green infrastructure projects will lead to decreases in the cost of energy for consumers.

Continuous technological improvements have led to a rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in recent years, meaning some forms can already comfortably compete with fossil fuels.

The report suggests this trend will continue, and that by 2020 “all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range”.

Of those technologies, most will either be at the lower end of the cost range or actually undercutting fossil fuels.

“This new dynamic signals a significant shift in the energy paradigm,” said Adnan Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), which published the report.

“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one.”

The report looked specifically at the relative cost of new energy projects being commissioned.

As renewable energy becomes cheaper, consumers will benefit from investment in green infrastructure.

“If the stuff you’re building to generate electricity costs less, the end effect of that is having to pay less for the electricity that comes from it,” Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) told The Independent.

“The cheaper you install it, the better it is for everyone.”

The current cost for fossil fuel power generation ranges from around 4p to 12p per kilowatt hour across G20 countries.

By 2020, IREA predicted renewables will cost between 2p and 7p, with the best onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects expected to deliver electricity by 2p or less next year.

Other methods of producing renewable energy, such as offshore wind farms and solar thermal energy, are not yet as competitive as fossil fuels.

However, the results of recent renewable power auctions for projects to be commissioned in the coming years suggest these forms too are due to drop in price.

Auctions provide a useful means of predicting the future cost of electricity.

“These cost declines across technologies are unprecedented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system,” said Mr Amin.

Read more on the original publication.

MENA to boost its Power Generation Capacity

MENA to boost its Power Generation Capacity

Amidst increasingly louder shouts to transition towards renewable sources of energy, the MENA region, especially that of the oil exporting countries still has a flourishing power generation capacity. A study of this utility production capacity within all the countries of the MENA has recently been undertaken by the World Bank. Its key findings were for the MENA to boost its Power Generation Capacity , more specifically that it should proceed with  :
1. Cutting hidden costs in the power sector is key to financing sorely needed investment.
2. Under-pricing is the major source of inefficiencies;
3. The power sector in the MENA must match the region’s technical success with improvements in commercial and financial management.
4. Well-targeted institutional and economic reforms would boost the region’s power sector.
5. More systematic monitoring of power sector performance is needed.
The Peninsula of Qatar posted an article written by Satish Kanady on 30 December 2017 with comments as follows :

MENA needs to ramp up power generation capacity

Primary energy demand in the MENA region is expected to continue to rise at an annual rate of 1.9 percent through 2035, requiring a significant increase in generating capacity. However, investments have not been rising fast enough to meet that requirement, according to World Bank.
The World Bank study, which covered 67 electricity utilities in 14 economies of the region, including Qatar, noted that the annual electricity investments needed to keep up with demand have been estimated at about 3 percent of the region’s projected gross domestic product.
The study, “Shedding light on electricity utilities in the Middle East and North Africa,” offers policy makers, regulators and the managers of electricity utilities an extensive analysis of the current performance of electricity utilities.
Under-pricing is the major source of inefficiencies in the region. Low tariffs and overstaffing often reflect good intentions, but they are not the most effective practices. Given their present macroeconomic prospects, many Mena economies cannot afford to continue to lavish on average 2 percent of GDP on poorly targeted electricity subsidies.
Improving the sector’s performance will allow economies to increase the social returns on fiscal resources by allocating savings where they will do the most good, whether within the sector or outside it, the document noted.
“Explicit and implicit subsidies of Mena’s power sector impose a very heavy burden on taxpayers and power users. The burden can be measured in the utilities’ hidden costs, or quasi-fiscal deficits (QFDs), which express the cost of not operating in the manner of a well-run utility. The QFD encompasses four types of inefficiencies: collection losses, transmission and distribution losses, under-pricing, and overstaffing.”
According to World Bank, there is a need for Mena’s power sector to match its technical success with improvements in commercial and financial aspects. The region’s economies tend to perform better than the sample of economies outside MENA.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a clear correlation between good technical performance and sustainable financial performance, and unless the sector can increase its revenue or better manage its costs, the current technical level is unlikely to be sustainable. A well-targeted institutional and economic reform would boost Mena’s power sector.
The document noted desalination plants are an integral part of the energy sector in the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), supplying both municipalities and industries for the past two to three decades.
Also, several energy utilities are involved in water or sanitation activities. These two trends can be observed in Oman, where desalination activities are common among several electricity generation utilities (GUs), and in Morocco, where the 11 distribution utilities (DUs) are also involved in water and sanitation activities.
Also of interest is the introduction of renewable energies in the energy mix, in a region in which fossil fuels remain the dominant source of electricity, mostly due to their abundance and the conventional generation technologies and practices that have been in place for several decades.
In 2013 in Morocco, 31 percent of total installed capacity was from renewable, of which 7 percent was not hydropower. Oman, in contrast, depended entirely on thermal power generation, with natural gas and diesel oil making up 98 percent and 2 percent of the energy mix, respectively.
With several members of the MENA region benefiting from an abundance of solar and wind resources, the region’s potential has yet to be exploited and is lagging behind other world regions mostly because renewable energy sources are disregarded in policy design.

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