Tag Archive | "solar"

Clean energy investment falls

Global investment in clean energy was US$45.9billion in the third quarter of 2013, down 14% on the second quarter of this year and 20% below the number for Q3 2012, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

This suggests that investment in technologies such as smart grid, efficiency, storage and electric vehicles will end this year below 2012′s US$281 billion. This total was in turn11% down from the record established in 2011.

The third quarter data showed weakness almost across the board, with investment in China, the US and Europe all down on the equivalent period of 2012. The only region to show a rise in activity on both the quarter and the year was the Americas outside the US and Brazil, due to firm figures from Canada, Chile and Uruguay.

However, the installation of solar photovoltaic power capacity worldwide is set to hit a new record in 2013 at 36.7GW.

“After the slightly more promising second quarter, we now have a very disappointing third quarter figure for investment,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “US$45.9 billion is still a substantial amount of money, greater than that invested in the whole of 2004, but the loss of momentum since 2011 is worrying.

“The latest setback reflects policy uncertainty in Europe, the lure of cheap gas in the US, a levelling-off in wind and solar investment in China, and a general weakening of political will in major economies. Governments accept that the world has a major problem with climate change but, for the moment, appear too engrossed in short-term domestic issues to take the decisive action needed.”

Among the major countries, the US saw its total fall to US$5.5 billion in Q3 from US$9.4 billion in Q2, China was down at US$13 billion from US$13.8 billion, India was at US$1.2 billion from US$1.5 billion, and Japan US$7.3 billion from US$7.4 billion. Brazil showed a modest rise, from US$950 million to US$1.1 billion.

In Europe, German investment was US$1.6 billion, down from US$1.7 billion in Q2 and far below the quarterly figures seen in recent years. France saw a fall from US$1.2 billion in Q2 to US$727 million in Q3, Italy a rebound to US$1.3 billion from US$1.2 billion, and the UK a somewhat rally from US$1.6 billion to US$2.6 billion.

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$200bn to be pumped in MENA power sector by 2020

Consumption of electricity in the MENA region is said to grow at a faster pace over the next decade, with investments worth more than $200 billion set to be pumped into the region’s power sector by 2020, according to a report.

The MENA Power 2013 report published by MEED Insight earlier this year, said that demand for electricity has grown so rapidly in the region, that in many instances utilities have struggled to keep up, resulting in investments worth billions of dollars in new power plants.

The report added that more than $100bn of investment is required by 2020 to meet the additional capacity with the same amount to be invested in the transmission and distribution sectors – representing a lucrative growth opportunity for anyone working in the power market.

This will come as good news to more than 1,200 exhibitors from 100 countries around the world that will participate in the 39th edition of Middle East Electricity, one of the world’s largest energy events focussing on the power, lighting, renewable and nuclear sectors.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai , Middle East Electricity will take place from 11-13 February 2014 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.


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First solar world record

Confirmed by the U.S Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), First Solar accomplished a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar cell conversion efficiency, achieving 18.7 percent cell efficiency.

“We are confident the advanced technologies and processes we developed for this record-setting cell will further enhance the performance of our future production modules and power plants,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer.

“With the solar energy sector in the Middle East set for systematic and strong growth in the coming years, the potential of First Solar Thin Film in this region in particular is unparalleled,” said Ahmed Nada, Vice President of Business Development for First Solar Middle East.

“Our advanced thin film technology yields superior energy output in desert regions while also having the twin benefits of being more economical and more efficient sources of alternative energy. We hope to be able to assist key regional stakeholders in sharing our technological expertise and providing solutions to the growing energy demand in the Middle East,” he added.

Since it began commercial production in 2002, First Solar has produced more than 90 million of its advanced thin-film solar modules with a capacity of over 7 gigawatts (GW), enough to provide clean electricity for approximately 3.5 million homes and displace 4.7 million metric tons of CO2 annually, based on world averages. If laid end-to-end, the modules would circle the equator nearly three times. First Solar utilises a continuous manufacturing process which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours, contributing to the industry-leading energy payback time and low carbon footprint of systems using First Solar PV modules.

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Capacity and consumption

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are set to invest US$252 billion (AED925.62 billion) over the next five years on power production, distribution and supply grids, according to recent reports. While the UAE boasts capacity over consumption, the rest of the region may need to catch up

The careening demand and cost for the production and distribution of energy has fuelled research and development for diversifying the energy mix of most nations in the region.
At the current rate of capacity growth, generation outpaces consumption, suggesting that the UAE could become a net power exporter within the GCC, once the region-wide power grid is in effect.
Having grown at a compounded rate of 12% per annum in the last 5 years, the UAE’s current power generation capacity stands at about 30,000 MW while consumption during the same period grew at a yearly rate of 8%, according to a recent report by Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz).
According to the report, “the power sector in the Emirates had been seeing a rise in tandem with the economic growth it has achieved over the last decade,” suggesting that the nation has achieved a happy medium between input and output.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recently reported a 7% increase in the capacity and efficiency of its electricity transmission networks from 6206 MW in 2011 to 6637 MW.
“We are fully committed to maintaining and improving the capacity and efficiency of our substations and transmission networks to continue offering world-class sustainable and environment friendly services, which will achieve high levels of customer satisfaction. Part of our strategy is to expand our transmission and distribution networks catering to Dubai’s construction business growth,” His Excellency Saeed Al Tayer, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of DEWA, says.

The current mix
98% of plants in the UAE are natural gas, with the remaining 2% liquid fuel. In the GCC context, natural gas accounts for 49% in Saudi and 29% in Kuwait.
“This gives UAE an advantage as gas fired plants are efficient and the fuel is cheaper as well compared to Oil. Although the country’s gas consumption has outpaced production, it imports natural gas from Qatar through the Dolphin gas pipeline,” Markaz says.
“Over the next four years, we estimate consumption to grow at 8.5% annually, with much of the growth coming from Abu Dhabi. While Dubai expects consumption to grow at 3.5% over the next decade and at 2.5% from 2020-30, Abu Dhabi expects demand to grow by 11% annually till 2015.”
Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company (ADWEC) supplies electricity to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, while exporting surplus energy to the northern emirates. ADWEC projects these exports to increase from 2,400 MW in 2012 to 5,827 MW in 2020.At this rate, by 2014, the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) can expect to halt generation.

Sunny side up
The Middle East has major opportunities to capitalise on the efficient use of renewable industrial and domestic energy, but is being held back due to the initial financial commitment required to invest in such technologies, according to Johan de Villiers, President of power systems at ABB in the Gulf. The region, being blessed with an abundance of sunlight, has a lot of potential, but more needs to be done through multi-stakeholder collaboration to ensure the benefits of the free energy resource are maximised.
“Despite the vast potential of renewable energy in the Middle East, we have a lot of preparatory work to do so that the true economical and environmental benefits of renewable technologies can shine through,” says de Villiers.
“Whilst there are financial investments required to implement such technologies, in many cases there is a lack of knowledge and acceptance, which is natural. The good news is in many countries, governments are consulting widely, initiating pilot projects and most importantly are starting work on policies and pricing frameworks that will encourage sustainable energy initiatives and projects.
“It requires hard work and collaboration from all stakeholders to overcome these barriers and challenges. I think the many great pioneering examples around the region are supporting the awareness of what is possible and the potential of sustainable energy solutions.”

The current situation
According to Vahid Fotuhi, President of the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA), the Middle East is diverse enough for a number of renewable energy sources and technologies.
“The potential for renewable energy is the Middle East is huge,” said Fotuhi, who added that Saudi Arabia’s Rub Al’Khali desert alone receives enough sunlight to power two earths.
“The market is large enough and diverse enough for several different types of technologies, including solar, wind and geothermal. Even within the solar family, there are regions that are better suited for solar thermal applications and others which are better for solar photovoltaic systems.”
Solar in particular appears to be gaining significant traction in the Middle East. According to research specialists Ventures Middle East, there are currently ten solar projects worth a combined US$6.8 billion underway in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

Energy and climate change
Addressing members of the International Peace Institute, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar and UAE Envoy for energy and climate change, highlighted the benefits of renewable energy deployment in supporting economic development as well as ensuring energy security and peace. The IPI, a New York-based independent, not-for-profit think tank, looks at climate change, energy access and their impact on national and international security. The organisation has delivered innovative research and policy analysis on the subject and works closely with the United Nation to provide a forum for dialogue for member states. The recent event took place on the side lines of the UN General Assembly.
Dr Al Jaber says: “the visionary leadership of the United Arab Emirates is looking beyond hydrocarbons and is investing in new technologies and sources of power to diversify the local and global energy mix. Today, along with barrels of oil, our nation is exporting clean energy.”
“Renewable energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and the UAE is collaborating with like-minded nations to contribute to the sector’s growth and improve global energy security,” adds Dr Al Jaber.

Alternatives in the future
Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 aims at generating 7% of its energy needs from renewable resources. Masdar Power’s 100 MW Shams 1 Concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the western region, a pilot 30 MW wind farm project and plans for constructing the world’s largest hydrogen power plant by 2015, are some of the steps the UAE is taking to concretise the nation’s lofty goals.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) are in the initial phase of the nation’s first nuclear power plant project, expected to be up and running by 2017. By 2020, ENEC projects that the UAE will have 4 nuclear power plants with a gross installed capacity of 5,600 MW at an approximate capital of US$20 billion.
According to the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, the government is targeting renewable energy to supply 1% of Dubai’s energy by 2020 and 5% by 2030.
Dubai’s AED12 billion Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park promises a capacity to generate 1,000 MW. Speaking to local media on the cusp of the highly anticipated World Energy Forum 2012 to be held later this month, Saeed Al Tayer highlighted the UAE’s unique position and inexhaustible potential for evolving into a thought leader in green energy solutions. In addition to his role as MD and CEO of DEWA, Al Tayer is also the Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy (SCE) and Vice Chairman of the WEF 2012 Higher Organising Committee.
“The energy strategy 2030 will reduce its dependence on oil and gas. 12% of its future energy could come from nuclear energy and another 12% will come from coal-fired power plants, 71% will come from gas and 5% from renewable energy,” according to Al Tayer, adding that clean coal could also be expected as an energy source in the future.

DEWA on the global stage
In effort to reduce fuel consumption at its power plants, DEWA generated 400 MW of electricity without using additional fuel. Recently, DEWA made headlines in beating the global standard in the private sector in efficiency, availability and reliability. While top European and American companies recorded an average 4.3% network line loss, DEWA’s figure was significantly lower at 3.49%, with customer minutes lost last year clocking at 5.8 minutes, compared to the 16.4 minutes recorded overseas. DEWA’s production efficiency reached 20% from 2006.

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e-Mobility and Solar Charging Stations

To be honest, I have had the idea of driving an electric vehicle that would run on solar power for quite some time. It was one of the main reasons why I thought about buying an electric vehicle in the first place. However, up until recently, “going solar” did not really appear to be an option here in Dubai. Yes, some medium-sized to large-scale solar plants exist or are in the planning phase, but individual use of solar power still does not really exist, unfortunately.
“If you seek then you will find” as the Germans say, and I did manage to find very helpful individuals and companies who were ready to invest in and start a pilot project. The project is a solar operated charging station for electric vehicles, such as mine. Siemens UAE (Philipp Sonnauer) are supporting with the system design and providing one of the key pieces of equipment; the actual charging station that will be installed at home in our garage. A total of 5.07 kWp worth of solar panels are being contributed by Trina Solar (Matthew Silvester) and Canadian Solar (Catherine Gallagher) and will be installed on our roof at home in the Springs. PowerOne (Imad Meselmani) will provide the inverter, Hilti (Amir Mokhtar and Sara Georges) the support structure and SES Technologies (Justin Hall) will take care of the overall system integration.
Application has been made to DEWA to approve the system and we are hoping to obtain approval within the next few weeks.
Once approved, the system is expected to generate around 8,500 KWh of clean energy per year, avoiding approximately 5.9 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This may not sound like much, but these are the emission savings of only one, comparatively small, private solar installation. Given the vast amounts of solar energy that we are exposed to here in the UAE it does not take much fantasy to imagine the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that could be saved if every house in the UAE would make use of that free and clean source of energy.
All electricity that the installation will generate will be available at the vehicle charging station at which the vehicle’s batteries will continuously be recharged with clean energy. All electricity that is not required for the car’s batteries will be used internally at home, thus reducing our overall requirement of conventionally generated electricity. Given that all self-generated electricity will be self-consumed, no electricity will be exported to the public grid.
Even electric mobility is not absolutely “green” or carbon neutral if the energy required to operate the vehicle is produced by burning fossil fuels. It is, however, if such energy is generated from renewable sources, such as solar power.
The project demonstrates that the solar radiation resources that are available to us here in the Gulf region can be utilised in many ways. They can, of course, be used to generate clean energy that supplements the energy requirements of households or companies. Solar radiation can also be used to power cars, however, as well as satisfying our hot water requirements, desalinating sea water for use in gardens, powering street lights, particularly in remote areas, et cetera.
Up until now solar radiation is hardly used as a resource here in the Gulf region. Fossil fuels are used on a large scale, instead of selling such fuels to customers abroad. The Gulf region really could be a leader in how solar resources can be used most efficiently and most effectively. Hopefully this small scale pilot project will assist in this vision becoming a reality one day.

Dr. Michael Krämer is a Senior Associate at International Law firm, Taylor Wessing (Middle East) LLP, and Legal Counsel to the Emirates Solar Industry Association’s first Executive Committee. Contact him at m.kraemer@taylorwessing.com

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All aboard world’s largest solar powered boat

School children have been welcomed on board the world’s largest solar powered boat, MS Turanor PlanetSolar whilst it was docked at Doha’s Pearl Pier last month.
Part way through a maiden global voyage, the German-built vessel set sail from Monaco on September 27 and is due to arrive back there in May. The Doha stop-off is the longest of the trip, in honour of the advances of solar power in region, made by QSTec.
“We received such a warm welcome from Qatar so we are pleased to have made our Arabian stopover in Doha,” said Dr Pascal Gouplie, managing director, PlanetSolar SA.
“It’s so simple. Solar technology works. So far, we have sailed across four oceans and never lost energy. The MS Turanor PlanetSolar is the perfect demonstration of solar energy; just like a dream come true,” Gouplie added.
The boat is a catamaran covered in 572m² of PV cells, allowing it to function entirely on solar energy. Developer PlanetSolar is funded by the Swiss watches company Candino and the German specialist in management of solar energy Immosolar, in addition to public institutions such as the Swiss Confederation through Presence.
Other visitors to the vessel during its Doha-dock included Qatar Scientific Club and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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