Oman Leads MENA Region In Prospective Solar Farm Capacity

Oman Leads MENA Region In Prospective Solar Farm Capacity


The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to MEPMiddleEast


Oman Leads MENA Region In Prospective Solar Farm Capacity

Oman Leads MENA Region In Prospective Solar Farm Capacity
Representational image. Credit: Canva

Oman has solidified its position as the frontrunner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region concerning potential solar farm capacity, as per the latest data from the Global Solar Power Tracker.

This report, focusing on solar farm projects of 20 MW capacity and above, indicates that Oman ranks first in the MENA region and eleventh worldwide, boasting an impressive anticipated capacity of 18,349 megawatts (MW), equating to 1.55% of the global total capacity.

Oman’s robust dedication to renewable energy and its aspiration to diversify its energy mix is evident in the data provided by the Global Solar Power Tracker.

Capitalizing on its extensive desert landscapes and abundant sunlight, Oman has harnessed its solar potential, positioning itself at the forefront of the MENA region’s solar revolution.

The potential capacity encompasses the cumulative sum of solar farm projects in various phases, including those under construction, in the pre-construction stage, and those already announced. This indicates a substantial growth trajectory for Oman’s solar industry in the forthcoming years.

Beyond highlighting Oman’s commitment to renewable energy, the report also underscores the country’s remarkable progress in executing solar farm projects. Presently, Oman has four operational solar farms, three in the construction phase, twelve in the pre-construction stage, and two announced projects. These advancements signify a burgeoning and swiftly evolving solar sector within the nation.

Oman’s flagship renewable energy endeavor is the 500 MW Ibri Solar Power Complex, one of the largest solar installations in the region. Located in Al Dhahirah Governorate, the project supplies energy to around 33,000 homes and effectively offsets millions of tons of carbon emissions annually.

Additionally, the ongoing implementation of two Independent Power Projects (IPPs) at Manah is set to contribute 1,000 MW of new solar capacity when operational in 2025.

In recent developments, Nama Power & Water Procurement Company (Nama PWP), responsible for power and water procurement in Oman, has outlined plans to secure a new large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Project (IPP) by 2029. Tentatively named ‘Solar PV IPPs 2029,’ the project is slated to have a combined capacity of 1000 MW, consisting of two IPPs each with 500 MW.

The report also provides a broader view of the global solar farm landscape, revealing an astonishing total potential capacity of 1,184,296 MW. This underscores the escalating worldwide focus on renewable energy as countries endeavor to curtail carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The top five nations on the list include China, the United States, Spain, Australia, and India. In the MENA region, Oman leads the list at the eleventh spot, followed by Egypt (12th with 17,094 WM), Morocco (15th with 13,538 MW), Saudi Arabia (17th with 9,051 MW), Iraq (18th with 8,385 MW), and Kuwait (19th with 7,970 MW).

Oman’s achievement of securing the eleventh global position is a significant milestone not only for the country but also for the broader MENA region. It showcases the region’s extensive potential for solar energy generation and its substantial contribution to global renewable energy targets.

Are we smart enough for smart cities?

Are we smart enough for smart cities?


The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to

“One of the biggest threats is smart cities’ vulnerability to cyberattacks. This is because using large and connected networks gives cybercriminals more entry points and the perfect opportunity to jump from one exposed system to the next.

Are we smart enough for smart cities?

29 August 2023

SMART cities are becoming a reality rather than a concept, and integrating technology into everyday infrastructure has become a norm.

They present local authorities with a vast number of opportunities, including data-driven decision-making, enhanced engagement between citizens and the government and a reduced environmental footprint.


As with any new technology, there are risks to consider when developing smart cities.

One of the biggest threats is their vulnerability to cyberattacks. This is because using large and connected networks will give cybercriminals more entry points and the perfect opportunity to jump from one exposed system to the next.

While we should not let fear get in the way of innovation, it is essential that we adequately prepare ourselves with robust security protocols.

Challenges facing smart cities

Smart cities face unique challenges when it comes to cyber security. Networks are used by public and private entities, individuals and thousands of IoT (Internet of Things) devices each day.

The massive amount of data exchanged across these networks require a stringent security strategy. Some of the main challenges include:

Connected devices: A multitude of IoT devices that control everything from CCTV and traffic light management to organisations’ personal and financial data can be connected to a network at any one time. In theory, this sounds ideal for seamless communication and management, but in practice, they offer hackers thousands of potential entry points to launch an attack.

Automation of infrastructure operations: Automation offers numerous advantages across various functions within smart cities, reducing the need for direct human control over such operational systems. However, the proliferation of sensors can result in a greater number of connections to oversee and regulate. These connections can become vulnerable points susceptible to compromise.

Sub-standard data management processes: Data is at the heart of any smart city and is critical to everyday operations. However, many lack the correct processes to ensure this information is managed safely and securely. If a database is not policed correctly, it can be simple for hackers to target, which can lead to sensitive data being leaked, stolen or compromised.


Risks from ICT supply chain and vendors: We know the risks posed by supply chains and third parties. These were particularly evident during the recent zero-day vulnerability found in file transfer software MOVEit, which was subsequently exploited as part of a large-scale ransomware attack. Hackers continue to attack the weakest links, making smart infrastructure systems an appealing and lucrative target for them. To combat this, we need to adopt and adhere to secure-by-design and default practices to minimise these risks.

Outdated technology: Many cities have infrastructure and networks built on outdated technology, which leaves them susceptible to cyberattacks. Ensure systems are up to date with the latest software updates and security patches. Technology is central to the success of any smart city, and having resilient systems is a priority.

Inefficient security: Being linked directly to outdated technology, having inefficient security protocols in place can expose smart cities to malicious threats. This can leave individuals and organisations vulnerable to data breaches, identity theft and loss of sensitive information. Protecting existing infrastructure with robust security measures can prevent a potentially disastrous breach.

How do we ensure that the safety, security and privacy of those who live and work in smart cities are not compromised?

Build cyber resilience

Research indicates that by 2024, the number of wide-area network smart city connections is projected to surpass 1.3 billion. The level of complexity within these digital infrastructures is only increasing, which means any digital services implemented by a government or organisation are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

To realise their potential, smart cities need to find an effective balance between managing risk and enabling growth.

Building resilience to protect a smart city against these attacks is key. The starting point should be developing a cyber security strategy that maps out the broader objective of the smart city. This will help mitigate risks arising from the interconnectedness of processes and systems.

Part of any effective strategy should be to assess current data, systems and cyber defences to help give an idea of the current posture and quality of infrastructure.

Creating a formal relationship between cyber security personnel and those in governance of data is also vital. This will create an agreed approach to cyber security between all parties.

This means all stakeholders should work together to ensure that data that is being exchanged is secure across the networks. The policies put in place will mature alongside a city’s cyber strategy and add transparency to processes.

Finally, building strategic partnerships to help address the cyber security skills shortage is key to any successful security strategy. This is a good way to develop skills and increase the knowledge base, which in turn will bolster the overall security posture and resilience.

Get smart and be proactive

Smart city technologies need to adopt a proactive methodology to ensure cyber security risks are at the forefront of the planning and design of technologies.

Being “secure by design” is strongly recommended as a defence-in-depth approach. There may be some legacy infrastructure connecting to the smart infrastructure, and this may require a redesign to make secure connectivity and integration possible.

Hackers will continue to exploit vulnerabilities. An overwhelming number of cyberattacks against businesses can be avoided if supply chains and third-party security are taken seriously.

Attackers are quick to exploit vulnerabilities in well-known products. Invest in resources to help combat the everyday struggle of security patches and updates.

Operational resilience is the cornerstone of smart city technology implementation. To make sure organisations are well prepared, contingencies should be put in place for different types of incidents, which can have operational impact or cause disruption.

Autonomous functionality and isolation tools should exist to help minimise disruption.

Risk, privacy and legality all play an important role in smart cities, making sure data that is collected, stored and processed are in accordance with regulations.

Leaders, developers and business owners think that securing cyber risk within their smart city is a one-time objective. However, it is an ongoing and evolving process that can make a difference between a major breach or major growth.

The writer is the lead security engineer at Check Point Software Technologies.

Read more on The




Economic and Social Benefits of Sustainable Buildings

Economic and Social Benefits of Sustainable Buildings

In a comprehensive review of the Economic and Social Benefits of Sustainable Buildings, the author confirms the veracity of these recently adopted alternatives to what we know so far.  The problem is the sheer size of the proposed task of greening all the present built environment.  In any case, here is :
The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to Green Building Insider.

Exploring the Economic and Social Benefits of Sustainable Buildings

23 August 2023
Exploring the Economic and Social Benefits of Sustainable Buildings
Sustainable buildings are well-designed structures that consider the needs of the environment. The rapidly changing climate is resulting in substantial pollution, increased natural disasters, and an ever-growing endangered species list. It is necessary to consider research on how certain buildings impact the environment and what can be done to mitigate their environmental footprint. Here are six economic and social benefits of sustainable buildings to know about.

4 Elements of a Sustainable Building

Many things make a building sustainable and each plays a vital role in environmental preservation.

1. Stormwater Management

Stormwater runs down drains and into sewer systems, harming the natural water table. The right strategies can mitigate this issue. Stormwater management methods can capture runoff and slowly integrate it into the ground to replenish the water table, reducing the risk of flooding.

2. Native Landscaping 

Surrounding a building with local plants is a low-maintenance and sustainable way to landscape. Trees and plants from the surrounding area can already handle the climate, eliminating any extra care and maintenance. Native landscaping reduces fertilisation and irrigation needs, cutting water use and eliminating harmful chemicals from entering the atmosphere and water supply.

3. Renewable Energy

Using renewable energy whenever possible can reduce emissions and excess energy use.

    • Solar 

There are two types of solar energy — active and passive. Active solar uses panels to create a closed-loop renewable power source, while passive orients buildings to get the most sunlight possible. They can absorb, reflect and transmit thermal energy, insulating a building.

    • Wind 

Wind energy uses moving air to create electricity. Large turbines can benefit businesses and factories, and personal property owners can use individual turbines. It is best to design buildings where the wind will reach them the most for maximum benefits, like unsheltered flatlands or high elevations.

    • Hydropower

Hydroelectric energy comes from moving water. While significant sources such as the Hoover Dam can supply plenty of power through its facility, others can be small or even damless.

Check out our comprehensive guides on solarwind, and hydropower energy

4. Green Materials

Sustainable materials are another integral part of creating environmentally-friendly buildings. They can significantly reduce the carbon output of standing structures. The following are some of the most popular:

    • Bamboo: Bamboo is fast-growing and requires little processing, making it an excellent eco-friendly material. It is a strong and attractive material for interiors and exteriors.
    • Cement: Made from a mixture of leftover ingredients, different cement forms can be strong and sustainable.
    • Reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood recycles old projects to create a solid structure instead of harming the environment by cutting down trees.
    • Recycled steel: Similar to reclaimed wood, recycled steel reuses already-available resources and prevents them from sitting in landfills to release more emissions.

These materials can prevent the environmental impacts of materials production, reducing emissions, deforestation, and more harmful practices.

More on the topic: 5 Ways the Construction Industry Is Getting Greener

Photo: Alexander Schimmeck/Unsplash.

Economic Benefits of Sustainable Buildings

Building sustainably can positively affect local, national, and global economies.

1. Reduced Emissions

As it enters the atmosphere, carbon dioxide supercharges the natural greenhouse effect, causing global temperature to rise. By implementing cleaner energy sources – such as renewables – and by incorporating more efficient systems through building design, builders can significantly cut carbon emissions.

Reducing the amount of emissions entering the atmosphere – and thus tackling the problem at its source – requires less money and resources to develop climate change mitigation strategies. When large facilities become sustainable, community members will not face as many health impacts caused by emissions, saving on care costs.

2. Increased Productivity

Employees surrounded by natural light and elements of nature are often less stressed and more productive. This plays a vital role in business competition and supply and demand. Businesses rely on their workers. Sustainably designed buildings can increase morale and energise them.

3. Reduced Building Costs

Though some costs may be higher, the overall costs of constructing and maintaining a sustainable building are lower than conventional construction methods. Many sustainable buildings can be partially or fully completed elsewhere, limiting the resources used on a job site. Sustainable buildings also have a greater value in the long term compared to traditional alternatives.

Social Benefits of Sustainable Buildings

Along with assisting the economy, sustainable buildings can do a lot for the social health of residents.

1. Physical Health

Nature can help people destress and sustainable building designs cater to that need. By incorporating natural landscaping, sunlight, and greenery inside, architects and designers can create environments that lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety-related rapid heart rate.

These environments can also increase pain tolerance and release muscle tension. Using sustainable materials keeps used options from ending up in landfills, which can contribute to public hazards.

2. Mental Health

Sustainable, natural materials like wood and stone can reduce the impact of many mental conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. With so many people understanding the effects of climate change, knowing where they live and work support the environment can help put their minds at ease.

Less pollution in the air can help the population breathe easier and spend more time in sunlight. Doing so can boost their mood, energise them and help release stress.

3. Education

Sustainable buildings provide excellent opportunities for educating the public about caring for the environment. Having facilities with renewable energy resources, natural materials, and sustainable practices can inspire others to make their homes and businesses more environmentally friendly. It can create a ripple effect, helping to create a better world. Something as simple as an educational poster can go a long way.

Improving the Built Industry 

Construction causes around one-third of the world’s waste, making the design process a critical component of climate change reduction. Buildings contribute to 40% of worldwide carbon emissions. Humans need them, but they can work to make them better for the planet.

In a recent survey, 47% of global respondents said sustainability is at the top of their priority list. Governments are working to meet sustainability goals and everyone can play a part.

Sustainable buildings are a necessity to slow the devastating effects of climate change. By understanding the benefits of these structures, builders, designers, and owners can work to create a better future.

Featured image: Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash 

You might also like: Built Areas and Infrastructure: Stretching the Boundaries of Sustainability

Saudi Arabia is now harnessing AI to combat desertification

Saudi Arabia is now harnessing AI to combat desertification


Saudi Arabia is now harnessing AI to combat desertification

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to BNN.


As desertification poses a significant challenge in the country due to its arid climate and climate change effects, AI-driven analysis of satellite imagery and data will pinpoint areas most susceptible to desertification. Remote sensing technologies will monitor vegetation, rainfall, and plant health changes over time.

Saudi Arabia is now harnessing Artificial Intelligence to combat desertification
First Published Aug 21, 2023 in ASIANET

The Saudi Ministry of Environment has initiated a program that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to combat desertification. This collaboration involving the ministry, the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology intends to assess vegetative cover within Saudi Arabia.

The program aligns with afforestation projects and the “Green Saudi” initiative. As desertification poses a significant challenge in the country due to its arid climate and climate change effects, AI-driven analysis of satellite imagery and data will pinpoint areas most susceptible to desertification.


Remote sensing technologies will monitor vegetation, rainfall, and plant health changes over time.


Strategies to counter desertification, including tree and shrub planting, water management enhancements, and sustainable agriculture promotion, will be developed.

This AI-powered program represents a crucial step towards Saudi Arabia’s desertification mitigation and sustainability goals. By utilizing advanced technologies, the nation aims to safeguard its natural resources and construct a more sustainable future.

Saudi Arabia is concurrently executing various initiatives against desertification, such as the ambitious “Green Saudi” project, focused on planting 10 billion trees nationwide, and the “National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification,” dedicated to cultivating drought-resistant plants and refining water management techniques.

A total of 77 initiatives are in motion under the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) to attain three pivotal targets and effect positive, enduring change. This comprehensive approach encompasses afforestation, biodiversity preservation, emissions reduction, and establishment of new protected areas.

As part of the SGI, Saudi Arabia is translating its vision of a greener future into action, investing in sustainable development.

The forthcoming SGI Forum, scheduled for October 23-24 in Riyadh, represents a landmark event in Saudi Arabia’s endeavour to transition from an oil-based economy to a cleaner, more sustainable one.

The SGI aims to plant 10 billion trees, encompassing 30% of the total land area, create expansive protected zones, conserve coastal marine life, and encourage alternative agriculture. Technology will play a pivotal role in facilitating Saudi Arabia’s transformation into a greener nation.

With its diverse landscapes encompassing forests, pastures, coastlines, and islands across around 2 million square kilometres, Saudi Arabia is harnessing AI and remote sensing to streamline the study and monitoring of its environment.

10th dam to be built on the Tigris River

10th dam to be built on the Tigris River


ANF reported that in ŞIRNAK, a 10th dam is to be built on the Tigris River, thus adding to the already high number of similar infrastructures along this river.

The above featured image is credit to ANF, Samir Muxif Ciburi: Cizre Dam is a major threat to Iraq


10th dam to be built on the Tigris River

The “Cizre Dam” project to be built on the Tigris River in Cizre was approved. Many settlements will be flooded by the new dam.


The Tigris River passes through the Cizre region of Şirnak and runs along the borders of the Federated Kurdistan Region before flowing into the Persian Gulf. A new dam will be built on the Tigris River, which is considered the longest river in the Middle East with a length of 2,800 kilometres. The project is called “Cizre Dam” and was put out to bid on 24 May 2013, but was suspended due to various disagreements.

In the decision taken by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change on 29 April 2019, the “Environmental Impact Assessment prepared and finalized for the Cizre Dam and HEPP (Energy, Drinking Water, Irrigation) to be carried out by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) was found sufficient by the Investigation and Evaluation Commission and was accepted as final.”

Ten dams

The “Cizre Dam” will be the 10th dam on the Tigris River, and the second largest dam after the Ilısu Dam built on the river.

The project of the dam, which has been the subject of a harsh debate for years, was accepted on 16 August. However, it is not known when the construction of the dam will begin. As it happened with other dams, this new one will mean that many species living in the Tigris River will once again be in danger of extinction.

The Tigris River also provides water to the South Kurdistan Region and its government as well as the Iraqi government will face a major water crisis with the completion of the dam. It is claimed that the dam, which will be built with a height of 40 meters and a water storage volume of 381 million cubic meters, will be completed within three years.

AKP Şırnak MP Arslan Tatar announced on his social media account that the tender for the dam has come into effect and said: “The tender for the construction of the Cizre Dam and HEPP project, which was designed for Energy + Drinking Water + Irrigation purposes and is a key project within the scope of the South-eastern Anatolia Project (GAP), has been assigned. Construction work should begin as soon as possible and complete it within 3 years so to quickly start energy production.”

After the 14 May elections, the first act of the AKP in Sirnak was securing the tender for the dam project, despite the catastrophic effects it will have on the environment. According to the project, the dam is expected to be built below the town of Qesirk (Kasrik), which separates the Cudi and Gabar Mountains, and the village of Misûriyê. The project will also affect many roads, vineyards and settlements that, as it happened with the Ilisu dam, will be flooded.