Saudi Arabia joins club of Middle East’s ‘green energy’ leaders

20/01/20

The value of solar-power projects in the MENA region is estimated at between $5 billion and $7.5 billion. By 2024, that figure is expected to approach $15 billion to $20 billion. (Shutterstock)
  • Government plans to invest up to $50bn in renewable energy projects by 2023
  • Demand for electricity in the Kingdom is forecast to rise by up to 120 GW by 2030

ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia has become one of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s leaders in the race to use renewable energy, according to a new study.

The Solar Outlook Report 2020 was launched at the Solar Forum of the World Future Energy Summit, a highlight of this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (Jan. 11-18).
The report, prepared by Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), the largest regional body of its kind, said Saudi Arabia and Oman have joined the UAE, Morocco and Egypt as leaders in the renewables race.
“Saudi Arabia is now in the third year of implementation of its massive target of 60 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy generation by 2030,” it said.
Martine Mamlouk, secretary-general of MESIA, said that investment in solar energy is evident across MENA countries. “Saudi Arabia has a target of almost 60 gigawatts of renewable energy, out of which 40 gigawatts are solar,” she told Arab News.
“This is in line with the Kingdom’s objective of diversification and Vision 2030. While the industry is reaching grid parity, it is great to see the deployment of new innovative technologies to increase efficiency of systems, production management and grids.”
Upcoming solar projects in the Kingdom include Madinah, Rafh, Qurayyat, Al-Faisaliah, Rabigh as well as Jeddah, Mahd Al-Dahab, Al-Rass, SAAD and Wadi Ad-Dawasir, along with Layla and PIF.
Saudi Arabia’s energy demand has been rising steadily, with consumption increasing by 60 percent in the past 10 years, according to data provided by market researchers Frost & Sullivan. Demand for electricity in 2019 reached 62.7 GW and is forecast to rise by up to 120 GW by 2030.
The value of solar-power projects in the MENA region is estimated at between $5 billion and $7.5 billion. By 2024, that figure is expected to approach $15 billion to $20 billion.
Under its Vision 2030 program, the Kingdom aims to reduce its dependency on oil revenues, diversify its energy mix and tap its renewable energy potential.

Saudi Acwa power-generating windmills that have been erected in Jbel Sendouq, on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco. (Reuters)

After the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) was set up within the Ministry of Energy, the goals for the Kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) were revised upwards in 2018, resulting in a five-year target of 27.3 GW and a 12-year target of 58.7 GW.
The Saudi government plans to invest up to $50 billion in renewable energy projects by 2023.
“At MESIA, we are excited to see solar developments in the MENA region accelerating and reaching attractive tariffs, while lowering the carbon footprint of regional economies,” Mamlouk said.
“The total investment in renewables in MENA between 2019 and 2023 is expected to be $71.4 billion, representing a 34 percent share of the total investment in the power sector, which is valued at $210 billion.”
Changes introduced by Saudi Arabia include a focus on local developers and easing of regulations for local manufacturers of solar panels.
A Local Content and Government Procurement Authority has been established to oversee and audit local content compliance.
Separately, a Renewable Energy Financing package has been launched by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to support the growth of utility and distributed-generation sectors.
After solar photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof of a mosque in Riyadh, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center recommended a similar move at other mosques.
Meanwhile, plans for the use of solar panels in the Saudi agro-industry have led to burgeoning interest in the technology, with several industrial facilities expected to have their own units in the not-too-distant future.
For good measure, a regulatory framework to allow exchanges with the power grid is being studied by the Electricity Co-generation Regulatory Authority.
Flexible storage solutions, such as hydrogen, will give intermittent renewable energy a greater share in the energy system, Mamlouk said. “It may enable present-day oil and gas exporters to become key renewable energy exporters tomorrow. The solar industry is thrilled and proud to participate in this profound transformation of Saudi Arabia’s energy system.”
In the past year solar tariffs have reached record levels in the MENA region, mainly due to tremendous cost declines that have brought the goal of grid parity within reach.
With installed solar electricity capacity worldwide standing at 617.9 GW, MENA governments are staying focused on energy diversification with the help of large-scale projects.
In the UAE, Dubai is targeting the completion of a 5 GW facility by 2030 at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park. Abu Dhabi has “engaged” its second-largest solar project and is considering the roll-out of more units by 2025.

INNUMBER

62.7GW – Demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia in 2019

Morocco aims to reach 52 percent contribution by renewables in its energy mix by 2030. The figures for Tunisia and Egypt are 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, by 2022.
Oman expects solar-power plants totaling 1.5 GW to come on stream by the end of 2022. Even Iraq, with all its political troubles and administrative paralysis, has not ignored solar power in drawing up plans for its future energy mix.
“Investments in renewable energy have reached billions in all Arab countries,” Mohammed Al-Taani, secretary-general of the Arab Renewable Energy Commission, said.
“Jordan is spending more on renewable energy, and we encourage people to have more independence with renewables by generating their own electricity to reduce their bills.”


Nevertheless challenges remain when it comes to implementing projects in rural and isolated areas, according to Mustapha Taoumi, a technology expert at the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network. “With regard to issues of power grid and access to the people, we have to prepare for everything and be ready to receive new technology because there are communities with little income and education,” he said.
“Then there is the challenge of implementation on the part of different actors and sectors. Social acceptance is also important as we come with new technologies and (information on) how to use them.
“We have to be innovative when it comes to financing the facilitation process. We have to be fair and democratic,” he said.
Although this is an exciting time for the region, governments will have to raise their efforts since they are still subsidizing the cost of power, Taoumi said.
“Technologies are evolving quickly, so decision-making must keep pace,” he said. “We could end up having smart meters in rural and isolated areas in two to three years.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Drive to stamp out environmental violations in Saudi Arabia

Time: 15 January, 2020

A photo taken on on January 5, 2020 show boats anchored along the Red Sea coast, in Saudi Arabia, on January 5, 2020. (AFP)
  • The northern region registered the lowest number of violations with 488 from 1,314 visits

JEDDAH: Inspection teams from the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME) discovered 8,754 environmental violations in Saudi Arabia in 2019, having carried out 21,369 inspections, it has reported.
Dr. Abdulrahman bin Sulaiman Al-Tariki, president general of the PME, revealed that Makkah had the highest number of violations, with 3,069 resulting from 4,756 visits. There were 1,799 violations from 4,573 visits in the Riyadh region; 1,070 violations from 2,427 visits in the southern region; 922 violations from 4,392 visits in the eastern region; 907 violations from 3,004 visits in Madinah; and 499 violations in Jazan from 903 visits. The northern region registered the lowest number of violations with 488 from 1,314 visits.
Al-Tariki said that the environmental inspection teams will continue to follow up on those who violate environmental standards and ensure they make the necessary fixes. “They will also impose fines and penalties on violators of the laws,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia rises in Human Development Index

Time: 15 January, 2020

In this March 9, 2018, file photo, an aerial view of Riyadh city is seen from Mamlaka tower, a 99-story skyscraper, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
  • “Saudi Arabia’s 2018 HDI of 0.857 is below the average of 0.892 for countries in the very high human development group and above the average of 0.703 for countries in Arab States

RIYADH: The Kingdom ranks second in the Arab World and 36th globally among countries with very high human development, according to a UN index.
The Human Development Index aims to measure prosperity levels in order to enable comparisons between the ability of countries and societies to achieve equality, justice and welfare for their populations.
It stated that Saudi Arabia was ranked 36 among 189 countries, inching up three places from 2018.
It added that the Kingdom’s development index achieved remarkable progress in the period 1990-2018, as the Kingdom’s index was 0.698 points in 1990 and reached 0.857 in 2018, and that the Kingdom’s development index achieved 10th place among the G20 countries.
“Saudi Arabia’s 2018 HDI of 0.857 is below the average of 0.892 for countries in the very high human development group and above the average of 0.703 for countries in Arab States. From Arab States, countries which are close to Saudi Arabia in 2018 HDI rank and to some extent in population size are Iraq and Syrian Arab Republic, which have HDIs ranked 120 and 154 respectively,” the report said.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia’s Haramain railway increases speed to 300kph

Time: 01 January, 2020

Saudi passengers walk on the platform at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
  • The project’s management said trips between King Abdullah Economic City station and Madinah would reach the top speed
  • The railway is the first high-speed electric train in the region and spans over 450km

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High-Speed Railway started increasing the speed of trains to 300 kilometers per hour (kph) for round trips to Madinah on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The project’s management said trips between King Abdullah Economic City station and Madinah would reach the top speed, making the travel time between King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Madinah around two hours, and between Makkah and Madinah approximately two hours and 45 minutes.
The railway is one of the most modern and fastest means of transport in the Middle East.
All stations include facilities such as lounges for business class travelers, a center for public transport, helicopter landing sites, parking lots, Civil Defense stations, mosques and commercial spaces to meet travelers’ requirements.
It is the first high-speed electric train in the region and spans over 450km, connecting five stations across Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City and Madinah.
The railway was inaugurated by King Salman in Sep. 2018, and is in line with the objectives of reform plans to increase the number of pilgrims and visitors to the Kingdom’s holy places.
Officials describe it as the biggest transportation project of its kind in the region.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Siemens, Tarshid to reduce emissions

29/12/19

Siemens is turning buildings and organizations in the Kingdom into high performing assets by maximizing efficiency, minimizing costs and reducing environmental impact.

Tarshid, the National Energy Services Company, and Siemens Saudi Arabia have signed a smart energy scheme to reduce 4,300 tons of CO2 emissions and support the National Information Center (NIC) save 28 percent on energy consumption annually. Leveraging on the Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) model to accelerate smart building performance initiatives and reduce national domestic energy usage, Siemens aims to support businesses in the Kingdom along their journey toward a more sustainable and profitable future.
Siemens is partnering with Tarshid in the implementation of a holistic building performance and sustainability solution for the NIC.
With this agreement, the company aims to serve the Kingdom’s strategic sustainability goal of achieving significant energy savings by 2030.
“With buildings now becoming an essential part of clean energy transition strategies in the Kingdom, Siemens’ energy-saving measures for its cooling, lighting and occupancy-based energy scheme ensures the best outcomes for their project value and minimizes operating expenditures within the ESPC’s 10-year payback scheme,” the company said.
Combining the expertise of Siemens’ data analytics and digital services capabilities to deliver new levels of building performance and insights, the NIC will be able to reduce their strategic and operational goals, while increasing their competitive advantage.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Siemens is working with Tarshid to support the National Information Center save 28% on energy consumption annually through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC).

• The project reduces 4,300 tons of CO2 emissions from the environment, equivalent to planting 21,600 trees.

Elangovan Karuppiah, CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, Regional Solutions and Services, Middle East and Asia, said: “Siemens has been a trusted partner of Saudi Arabia for nearly a century. This exciting new energy efficiency project is evidence of our firm commitment to jointly build the smart infrastructure that will power the Kingdom’s smart cities and create a sustainable future for the next generation.”
Siemens has expanded its investment in Saudi Arabia by transferring its know-how in energy efficiency, as well as its regional competency centers and global know-how to enable the Kingdom to reduce its dependency on oil and cut power consumption of its critical facilities, like the NIC. Backed by a strong global network of building performance and advisory services and proven track record in energy efficiency projects, Siemens is turning buildings and organizations in the Kingdom into high-performing assets by maximizing efficiency, minimizing costs and reducing environmental impact.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Second day of Riyadh’s MDL Beast music festival draws 150,000 visitors for blazing performances

22/12/19

The second day of the MDL Beast music festival attracted about 150,000 visitors, with big-league DJs playing for the mammoth crowd on Friday. (Supplied)

JEDDAH: The second day of the MDL Beast music festival kicked off with more impact than the opening gig, attracting 150,000 visitors on Friday.

Bandana-wearing people filed in with excited grins, ready to enjoy the best electronic music from around the world.

Total attendance to the festival’s first two days exceeded 280,000 visitors, and it is expected to continue witnessing massive crowds on its third and last day.

Neon Future Aoki

@steveaoki

Riyadh!!!! 150,000 people! A night all of us will never forget! Shukran Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦🇸🇦🇸🇦 this was magical! ❤❤❤ @MDLBeast

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
1,108 people are talking about this

The festival’s star-studded list of performances includes the big-league DJs Steve Aoki and J. Balvin, who performed their sets in five stages that attracted fans of different sorts who were free to dance to their hearts’ desire.

The ‘Big Beast’ stage was the main attraction of the festival, pulling in the biggest crowd even on the second day, and with good reason. The stage opened with Dish Dash hyping up the crowd, and followed by Camelphat.

The second day of the MDL Beast music festival attracted about 150,000 visitors, with big-league DJs playing for the mammoth crowd on Friday. (Supplied)

J Balvin, whose piece ‘Me Gente’ is the most remixed song of all time, also had the audience running to the stage when his name announced.

David Guetta meanwhile opened his stage appearance with the line: “Tonight we are going to celebrate the present and the future,” followed by a roar of cheers from the crowd.

“He is my most favorite DJ, I can’t believe I saw him perform live,” said Mohammad Harthi.

The night concluded with a collaboration stage that brought together iconic names in the industry, Steve Aoki and David Guetta, whose performances worked up the crowd, and managed to get a promise from Aoki to come back on the last day of the festival.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Aramco leads fight against methane

22/12/19

Saudi Aramco spends a big proportion of its research and development budget on measures to counter the environmentally damaging effects of the oil and gas business. (Shutterstock

Saudi company is more efficient in both current emissions and its targets for future reduction
DUBAI: Saudi Aramco has emerged as the most effective energy company in the world at mitigating emissions of the atmospheric pollutant methane from natural gas operations, according to consulting firm Thunder Said Energy.

A research survey put Aramco, the world’s biggest listed company, at the top of a table that included all the big energy groups.

The Saudi company was about six times more efficient than US energy giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron, in both current emissions and targets for future reduction, as a proportion of its gas production.Equinor, the state energy company of environmentally conscious Norway, ranked second in the survey.

Thunder Said’s Rob West, an expert in energy economics, said that controlling methane emissions was a crucial aspect of the move to decarbonize global energy supplies, in which gas is playing an increasingly important role. Methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2), is released in the gas production and transportation process.


Saudi Aramco became the world’s most valuable public company this year with a stock offering launch in December. (AP)
“Scaling up natural gas is the largest decarbonization opportunity on the planet. But this requires minimizing methane leaks. Exciting new technologies are emerging,” West said. Global gas demand will treble by 2050 as producers and consumers seek cleaner alternatives to coal and oil.

Aramco, the biggest oil exporter, has huge quantities of natural gas, which it has identified as a key area of expansion for domestic supply and export in the form of liquified natural gas. “We basically look at natural gas as an area for growth for the company,” Khalid Al-Dabbagh, Aramco’s chief financial officer, said in an investor call in the run-up to its successful IPO this year.

Aramco spends a big proportion of its research and development budget on measures to counter the environmentally damaging effects of the oil and gas business, including advanced technology to reduce pollutants in energy products.

Although most environmentalists have focused their attention on CO2 as the main contributor to global warming, and hence to damaging climate change, some experts regard methane as a far more serious threat.

There is far more CO2 in the atmosphere, but methane is up to 120 times more powerful as a warming agent and takes longer to leave Earth’s atmosphere. “Methane accounts for around 25 to 30 percent of all the warming occurring on the planet,” West said, while around a quarter comes from fossil fuel production.

“Mitigating methane emissions is becoming crucial for tackling net emissions.”

While methane leaks at all stages of the natural gas production process, almost half is emitted during the upstream phase. Sensors, drones and even satellites are being increasingly used to detect these emissions. Aramco stopped “flaring” gas years ago.

“The world will need superior methods to mitigate methane. In the developed world, this will be necessary for operators wishing to demonstrate low carbon credentials, and preserve their access to customers and capital markets,” West said. “The other way for investors to lower methane emissions may be to favor companies with low methane emissions and targets to improve.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

KSA achieves fourth-fastest emissions reductions in G20

22/12/19

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (pictured), an independent, nonprofit institution located in Riyadh, released an analysis of the IEA data at COP25, held last week in Madrid.

Data recently released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has shown that Saudi Arabia lowered its emissions by 15 million tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) or by 2.7 percent in 2018, giving it the fourth-fastest fall in emissions in the G20 group of countries behind Mexico, Germany and France. This is significant as it is Saudi Arabia’s first large policy-induced reduction in CO2 emissions.

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) released an analysis of the data at the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP25, held last week in Madrid.

Dr. Nicholas Howarth, a co-author of the report, said that 74 percent of the fall was attributable to improving energy intensity and 26 percent due to a fall in the carbon intensity of the economy as the Kingdom lowered its domestic consumption of oil.

“Energy efficiency and structural reform policies are combining to lower the Kingdom’s energy intensity, lifting energy productivity. This has been the most significant driver of lower CO2 emissions in the Kingdom,” he said.

Thamir Al-Shehri, another author of the analysis, said that in 2018, Saudi Arabia’s emissions were stable or falling in all energy-consuming sectors of the economy, with transport delivering the majority of the reductions, falling by 13.25 MtCO2 or 11 percent compared with the year before. The share of natural gas in the fuel mix, which is 25 percent less carbon-intensive than oil, has also risen from 32 percent in 2015 to 38 percent in 2018.

“Energy price reforms and stronger energy efficiency standards have combined to stabilize and lower the Kingdom’s historically fast emissions growth in the last three years. What we see in the data is the first signs of the energy transition toward more sustainable use in action,” Al-Shehri said.

Co-author Dr. Alessandro Lanza said the amount of crude oil burned to produce electricity has fallen by around 10 percent each year for the last three years, diesel consumption fell by 15 percent in 2017 and 12 percent in 2018, and total oil products consumed fell by 7 percent in 2018.

“This has the dual benefit of freeing up valuable oil for higher value uses in petrochemicals and export, in addition to lowering the Kingdom’s CO2 emissions,” Dr. Lanza said. “It also shows how climate policies can be aligned with supporting economic growth and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

How Saudi Arabia has speeded up civil justice

Time: October 30, 2019  

Anyone who files a lawsuit obviously expects that any resulting judgment will be applied in practice; legal action can be difficult and demanding, so plaintiffs are entitled to know that enforcement of the verdict will be fast, effective and accurate.
To this end, the Saudi Ministry of Justice has made a range of services available to all the parties in civil proceedings, which are of importance to all members of society.
The activities of the enforcement judiciary, whether to execute judgments, arbitration rulings or bonds according to Saudi law, are governed by specific formulas approved by the law.
The Ministry of Justice has launched 15 services that serve the applicant and the respondent — a debtor, for example — as well as an applicant by proxy, such as a lawyer. These services accelerate and digitize the proceedings, thus saving time, effort and money, and avoiding unnecessary visits to court. They also relieve pressure on the courts and ensure that cases are completed efficiently and accurately.
The 10 new services for applicants and their legal representatives may be accessed and implemented through the ministry’s Najiz online portal, which was launched in April and covers all 177 first-instance courts in the Kingdom. The services include submitting a request under Article 34, which informs a debtor of an enforcement order; or a request under Article 46, which suspends citizen services and imposes travel bans. The applicant may also ask for an Article 46 order to be reissued when it has expired, request a sentence of imprisonment, or request an invoice for the notification of an enforcement order.
These services also cover family issues, including requests for a visit order, a custody order or an alimony deduction order. Applicants may also ask for an order to sell assets by auction, or for an eviction order.
The law is also keen to provide services for respondents in a legal action, including debtors. Five services allow them to ask for orders under Article 34 and 46 to be rescinded, to issue a payment bill, and to transfer a reserved amount of money.
These rapid and unique developments will help to ensure that the enforcement of civil justice in the Kingdom is easier, faster and more practical, and will enhance Saudi Arabia’s judicial reputation for the effective implementation of judgments and enforcement of rights. Many other countries are looking at the Saudi system for inspiration in how to improve their own legal enforcement procedures.
Finally, a debt of gratitude is owed in particular to the female sections in the enforcement courts for their role in helping women to implement judicial orders and obtain their rightful dues.

Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal consultant, head of the health law department at the law firm of Majed Garoub and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Launch of 5G corporate services in KSA in 2020

12/10/19

Nasser bin Sulaiman Al-Nasser, STC Group CEO, was speaking at the STC Media Club meeting held on the sidelines of GITEX 2019 in Dubai.

Nasser bin Sulaiman Al-Nasser, STC Group CEO, said STC has increased the number of sites equipped with 5G in various regions across Saudi Arabia. He said the fifth-generation (5G) corporate services will be launched in early 2020 and that today the Kingdom is considered among the countries best prepared for the launch of these services.

During the STC Media Club meeting held on the sidelines of GITEX 2019 in Dubai, Al-Nasser said the Kingdom’s support to the telecommunications sector has contributed to the development and growth of this sector, as well as improvement of its infrastructure in record time, in order to achieve the digital transformation goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020.

In this context, he pointed out that InspireU, the Kingdom’s first corporate incubator/accelerator for startups addressing ICT/digital innovation, features 28 projects, with a total investment value of SR60 million ($16 million).

Al-Nasser said: “The market value of these investments is SR300 million. InspireU includes 16 million employees, and has contributed to the creation of 160,000 employment opportunities, including part-time jobs.”

Abdullah Al-Kanhal, senior VP of corporate affairs at STC, said InspireU, along with STC, supports innovative youth projects with funds and expertise.

New media specialist Dr. Ammar Bakkar showcased a presentation entitled “The Impact of 5G Networks on the Future of Telecommunications and Media.” Furthermore, three projects supported by the Saudi telecom giant were also highlighted. These include: Micro-lending application Sulfah; Carwah, which provides integrated data to facilitate car rental services; and Ayen, which aims at helping in the assessment of the effectiveness of prefabricated houses.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home