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 www.csptoday.com)

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.

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In GCC Countries, Waste Water Challenges

In GCC Countries, Waste Water Challenges

A piece of news that almost passed unnoticed a couple of days back was about Kuwait confronting like everyone around in the GCC countries, waste water challenges. It has decided to set up a new ‘green’ treatment plant.  It was all over the local and regional media. Indeed, and according to a Trade Arabia citing a report, the Kuwaiti authorities suddenly came out with plans to develop a new eco-friendly treatment plant.
It is planned for the area south of Al Mutalaa district of Kuwait and will have a capacity of about 400,000 m³ a day. Here are some excerpts of the local press.
Believed by its planners to be of a vital importance locally, regionally and globally, it will have some special features that are not available in other treatment plants, explained a senior official of Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works, saying :”This plant will be environmentally friendly and the energy used to operate it will be produced by the plant itself”.
A recently posted article of Green Business Norway does illustrate reasonably well the prevailing situation of the countries of the Gulf. These like enthralled by the last 2 decades of building boom seem to have overlooked that very neuralgic aspect of the lack of appropriate urban sanitation. 

Water & Waste Water Infrastructure Challenges in GCC Countries

The challenge of keeping pace with rapid population growth in the Gulf region is creating constant bottlenecks, especially in the infrastructure and wastewater management sectors. Member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are addressing the challenge with massive development plans projecting steady population and economic growth until 2030. Since the discovery of black gold in the Gulf region, all GCC countries have experienced rapid population and economic growth. This constant growth has created difficulties in most sectors related to infrastructure and city planning. While some are evident, like rush-hour congestion on the streets of major GCC cities, others are not directly visible to the average tourist or outside observer. One prime example is the wastewater sector. Unless you live near a sewage treatment plant (STP) and have seen the constant procession of trucks bringing raw sewage to the plant from various locations, you are probably unaware that much of the Gulf region lacks adequate sewage collection infrastructure. In addition, many of the plants constantly operate over capacity or are simply outdated, leading to severe odor problems. Depending on the wind direction, this can be a real issue for nearby communities. The emirate of Abu Dhabi offers a great example of this problem and how it is being tackled. The emirate’s first STP was built in 1973 with a capacity of only 4,545 m3/day. Owing to rapid growth, just nine years later a new plant was completed in Mafraq with a capacity of 100,000 m3/day. The capacity of the Mafraq plant was tripled 15 years later, in 1997, to 320,000 m3/day, sufficient to serve a population of 900,000. Every two years until 2003, the plant was upgraded to cope with rising demand. In addition, Abu Dhabi has built a plant for the local community in the oasis of Al Ain. Around 2008, the government of Abu Dhabi embarked on an ambitious project to prepare the emirate’s sewage infrastructure for projected population growth to more than six million by 2030. This project included the Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Program (STEP) and four STPs with combined capacity in excess of 800,000 m3/day. The STPs have been built under build-operate-transfer (BOT) contracts, a form of public-private partnership. Two of the plants are operated by a consortium of Veolia/Bessix and the local government, and the other two by a consortium of Kuwait-based Kharafi National and the local government. The problem of matching supply to demand, evident in all GCC countries, was well highlighted by Chowdhury of Bluefield Research in 2013. While the collection bottleneck in Abu Dhabi will be eliminated when the STEP project becomes fully operational by 2019, in other emirates and GCC countries, construction projects have only just started or are expected to go out to tender in the near future.

Source: Chowdhury 2013, FAO, Economic and Social Commision for Western Asia, Bluefield Research

The concept used in Abu Dhabi – constructing a backbone tunnel for the main sewage pipeline and locating the STP outside the city – has been adopted by several other emirates and countries in the GCC. Dubai, for instance, just started work on two sewage tunnels, as well as upgrading existing STPs and building a new STP in Jebel Ali. The new STP, which is scheduled to be operational by 2019, is projected to cope with demand until 2025, by which time an extension of the plant is planned. Qatar has started work on its Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy (IDRIS), but progress was halted in early 2016. The initial concept included one gigantic deep tunnel for sewage collection. It is not clear when work on the main collection tunnel will resume, but it is likely that other parts of the massive IDRIS program will get under way in 2017, including some STPs and infrastructure projects. Kuwait invited tenders for a new STP in Umm Al Haymann in 2016, including some work on the sewage collection infrastructure. Massive changes are taking place at the Oman water authority, which is likely to delay the issuing of the tender invitations expected in 2017. However, there are several projects in the pipeline, and the government plans to have all citizens of Oman connected to sewage infrastructure by 2020. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest market, several projects are under way. A huge series of projects in the wastewater sector, encompassing treatment facilities and especially collection infrastructure, is expected to go out to tender in 2017. “In summary, wastewater infrastructure in the GCC countries is undergoing massive development at a rapid pace. However, the concept of a backbone tunnel feeding two or three treatment plants outside the cities might not be the ultimate solution, even though in many locations it is either planned or implemented. The halt in the IDRIS project could indicate a change in thinking. We must wait and see whether the project continues along the same lines, or whether the local government in Qatar aims for a decentralized solution. Oman is also an example of a decentralized network, given the population distribution,” says Benedikt Pilscheur, Regional Director-Gulf Region at Green Business Norway. To conclude, we can say that the wastewater market in the Gulf region looks extremely attractive for the next few years. Drawbacks related to the local framework are heavily outweighed by market potential. Although a lot of contracts have already been awarded, or are about to be, there is still a very attractive series of projects in the pipeline. Given that the governments of the various countries tend to award different project packages to different bidders, the outlook for new players on the ground appears positive.

Benedikt Pilscheur, Regional Director–Gulf Region, Green Business Norway, and Huda El Sheikh, Business Advisor from Nordic Innovation Hub, in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

Article contact info: Benedikt Pilscheur, Regional Director-Gulf Region, Green Business Norway

The MENA region on the morning of 11/9

The MENA region on the morning of 11/9

sources_imf_regional_economic_outlook_database_and_microsoft_map_land_1-png-crop_display-jpgDonald Trump’s win would mean for the MENA region on the morning of 11/9, among many things support for the security of Iraq as per the previous understanding between Baghdad and Washington previous agreements.  An Iraqi official was quoted as saying that the Republican policy will go on the same way under the new US President. 

Now regarding the United States’ policy on the Gulf countries, the same official added that he does not expect a radical change in the relationships between the US and the Gulf States before adding that Donald Trump is familiar with these and that the GCCs have an active money lobby in Washington.

There is however Kuwait, that concerned by Iraq’s probable inability to meet its 2018 target compensation payments because of its current expensive military campaign against ISIL and the current low oil prices, has expressed its “desire and readiness” to start consultations with Iraq over the remaining reparations for the country’s 1990 invasion, that was estimated at $4.6bn.

Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) cited Khaled Al-Mudhaf, chairman of the Public Authority for Assessment of Compensation as saying the country was ready to discuss the issue through the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC).

The US president elect would inherit the MENA’s state of affairs as it is and would presumably have to deal in his own particular way .  The above are only but a few issues, apart from that of the sad Syrian ‘flash in pan’ on-going civil wars and / or the quasi ancient Palestinian endemic problem.

On the happy good side, Ilhan Omar’s election with that of others from ethnic minorities “are a rejection of Trump’s alleged strategy of divide and conquer,” said grassroots social justice group People’s Action.

Omar, became the nation’s first Somali-American state legislator, winning a seat representing Minneapolis in the Minnesota House, Minnesota Public Radio reported — she was elected by almost 80 percent of the vote there — it carried huge symbolic importance in Minnesota, home to the nation’s largest Somali immigrant population. It came just days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ripped Somali immigration as a threat to Minnesota.

Elsewhere in Libya for instance and as per this article of the Libyan Observer, the situation is no more circumspect as that of that of Iraq / Syria / Kuwait.  Here is that article.

Libyan and Arab bank and finance officials along with International counterparts met at a conference set up in London last month to discuss the Libyan financial crises and provide solutions in an attempt to avert a collapse in the economy.

There are many reasons for the state of the economy and its continuous spiraling downfall since 2014.

Major Factors

The sharp decline in international oil prices, lack of a functioning financial administration and the near complete halt to oil production are no doubt the main culprits when trying to determine the cause of the financial catastrophe.

Government subsidies are also one of the largest contributors to the economic downfall, especially fuel subsidies with an estimated 40% being smuggled out of the country to places like Tunisia, Malta and even Sicily.

A shortfall of income, when we look at the price of a barrel of oil being approx. $30 then multiply that by the amount of barrels per day which sits at approx. 400 – 500 BPD it is clear to see that the lower profit margin is creating an ever widening deficit especially when Libya is fully dependent on oil income.

Quest for a ‘Smart’ City

Quest for a ‘Smart’ City

How do we keep air clean, our carbon footprint low, the population healthy and the environment ‘green’?  Queried E&T in their Quest for a ‘Smart’ City definition has exposed the damning evidence of energy and environmental dangers . . .

A rapidly growing global population means that we will need to exploit a space’s potential, whether it is taller sustainable buildings, innovative waste management, or better renewable processes.  One of the biggest priorities when creating a smart city is to keep it eco-friendly and for us to work towards a cleaner, greener future.  We need to look at sustainable buildings – according to interactive platform Urban Hub, about 250 million new housing units will be required before 2030 in the 12 most populated countries, which account for 61 per cent of the global population.

According to TechRepublic.com there are key technologies that make a smart city work.

Here are the top 6 :

  1. Smart Energy
  2. Smart Transportation
  3. Smart Data
  4. Mart Infrastructure
  5. Smart Mobility
  6. Smart IoT

In the meantime, in the light of the above and in the spirit as it were of the new Gulf countries cultural trends, steps are taken to provide affordable housing within the framework of the concept of Smart City.

Al Barayeh

Al Barayeh

Al-Barayeh, a smart city project in Kuwait won first rank in Gulf region as reported by the local media and KUNA back in February 2016.  This smart city environmental project, designed by Kuwaiti engineer Faisal Al-Jehaim, won first rank in the best environmental project prize in the Gulf region.  The prize was offered by the 19th Gulf Engineering Forum, organized by Kuwait Society for Engineers in Kuwait.

It works in decreasing energy consumption rates as well as using its alternatives, and works in fulfilling a high quality of life that cherishes sustainability elements, including the social and economic environment, he said.

This city will be ready to be inhabited in three years, to welcome a total of 85,000 people and will server all of their daily basic needs and means of transportation as it will reduce usage of cars, including a metro station. – KUNA.

Gulf Business published this article written by Robert Anderson on the latest news on Smart City development and it is reproduced here for the benefit of our membership and readers generally.

Kuwait reveals plans for smart, environmentally friendly city. 

Kuwait has unveiled plans for what is claimed to be the first smart and environmentally friendly city in the Middle East.

South Saad Al-Abdullah city has been designed to accommodate 400,000 people over an area of 59 square kilometres with more than 30,000 housing units, according to state news agency KUNA.

The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea Land and Housing Corporation to conduct a feasibility analysis of the project and form a joint company with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare for design, construction and operation.

The new city will be 40km west of the centre of Kuwait and is estimated to cost $4bn, according to reports earlier this year.

It is described as including an internet network that will connect all of its inhabitants with public services.

Solar cells are also being considered to power the project and the overall design is described as avoiding ‘visual pollution’ by forcing inhabitants to use specific colours for buildings.

Restrictions on building design and construction materials may also be imposed.

Implementation is expected to begin in February 2017.

The Kuwaiti government plans to provide 120,000 housing units for citizens annually over the next decade, according to KUNA.

Other major projects include South Mutla, which will house 400,000 citizens with 30,000 housing units. Building of infrastructure and roads for the project is expected to cost KD 288m ($954.7m).

 

Kuwait close to 55° Celsius, Iraq @ 53.9°C . . .

Kuwait close to 55° Celsius, Iraq @ 53.9°C . . .

Sizzling Temperatures, outdoor Climatisation and Air Conditioning have always been quite a Dilemma for the Gulf Countries.  With a view to know more about the Ozone Layer, successive symposiums have always been organized throughout the Gulf countries taking the Refrigerants; Challenges & Prospects in High-Ambient Temperature Countries as topics of discussions.   Published by Emirates 24/7 on Monday, July 25, 2016, an article by Bindu Rai gives us a pertinent image of the area of the GCC countries and the prevailing temperatures such as Kuwait close to 55° Celsius, Iraq @ 53.9°C . . . and  (im)possible rain for UAE?

Hot winds, haze to shroud UAE; highs of 49 degrees Celsius with humidity climbing to 85 per cent in parts

The hot and hazy weather that kicked up dust and sand across the UAE on Sunday will continue to hinder horizontal visibility over the next 24 hours.

The UAE’s National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) has albeit offered some respite to those residing in the eastern and southern parts of the country with a possibility of rainfall on the horizon.

The Met office has forecasted Monday in the UAE will be hazy in general, becoming ‎”hot to very hot over most areas and partly cloudy over eastern and southern areas, with some rainy towering clouds at times.”

Highs of 49 degrees Celsius have been forecasted in the UAE’s interior region, even as humidity levels are expected to climb to 85 per cent around the coastal parts.

A heatwave through the Middle East has seen the Mercury gradually climb this past week, with Kuwait reportedly recording temperatures close to 55 degrees Celsius, while its neighbour Iraq saw highs of 53.9 degrees.

While the UAE has been spared such highs this summer thus far, the NCMS has further stated, Monday will see ‎the country experience moderate to fresh winds in general, causing blowing dust and reducing the horizontal visibility, especially across exposed areas.

The sea will be rough in the Arabian Gulf and the Oman Sea.

 

GCC’s Expatriates Remittances Tax

GCC’s Expatriates Remittances Tax

Representatives to discuss tax on expat remittances . . .

Arab News 2016  reported that the Consultative (Shoura) Council of Saudi Arabia was expected to have a discussion last Sunday on a proposed tax on expatriate remittances.  The proposal from the Council’s finance committee had been drafted by a member of the committee, according to the above mentioned local media.  This comes in the wake of discussion in all GCC’s Expatriates Remittances Tax.

According to a Gulf Research Centre report released earlier this year, GCC countries are critical sources of global remittances, transferring billions of Dollars to mostly Asian countries.

The GCC countries were about 23% of the world’s $400 billion remittances in 2013 coming from the GCC region, representing nearly $90 billion, making Saudi Arabia the leading remitter not only in the GCC but also in the world.

This comes in the wake of discussions held in all GCC countries on this issue with some GCC countries are actively considering some taxation on expatriates remittances.

A GCC-wide VAT could be in place soon after the 6 countries have adopted a draft framework.  In the meantime, the UAE has already announced a 5% VAT as of 2018 with other GCC countries following shortly.

In the wake of the global oil price fall, all GCC countries are experiencing a decline in state revenues that they are trying to mitigate through finding other sources of income.

This week, Saudi Arabia unveiled its ‘Vision 2030’ plan that includes exploring new revenue streams with a view to breaking its dependency on hydrocarbon semi-annuity type of economy.  It is planning to adopt the path-breaking ‘Green Card’ but only in 5 years’ time.

Other topics that are being debated in Saudi Arabia include the annual performance reports of a number of government agencies.  Also under discussion will be other topics that include topics on water, agriculture, and environment particularly concerning the new water and power tariff.

The council’s health committee’s report on regulations concerning pharmaceutical facilities, private health facilities, and health care professions were on the agenda with a particular look at those reports to be scrutinized as included in the Human Resources Development Fund submitted by the committee on management and human resources; the report of the committee on transportation, telecommunications, and information technology on the General Authority for Civil, and the committee on economy and energy report on the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals.  We shall report on the outcome as soon as it is available.