About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

How to Make an Environmentally-Conscious Person

The public discourse on industrial pollution, climate change, global warming and sustainable development has made environmental protection a top priority for one and all.  Concerted efforts are underway from governments, businesses and individuals to make Earth a clean and green planet.  When it comes to sustainability, everyone has a role to play. We can contribute to the global environmental movement by adopting changes that are within easy reach.

Here are some tips to prove that you are an environmentally-conscious person:

Use Solar Power

Solar power is the most popular form of alternative energy. Worldwide, millions of businesses and households are powered by solar energy systems. A potential way to harness solar power is to install solar panels on your roof which will not only provide energy independence but also generate attractive revenues through sale of surplus power. Another interesting way to tap sun’s energy is use solar-powered lights for illuminating streets, boundary walls, gardens and other public spaces. Solar-powered lights by Deelat Industrial provide a reliable and cheap source of energy in rural and isolated areas.

Recycle Stuff

Recycling keeps waste out of landfills, thus conserving natural resources. The first step in recycling is to buy a multi-compartment recycling bin for separate collection of paper, plastics, food waste and metal. Paper, plastics and metals can be recycled and reused while food waste can be composted or anaerobically digested to produce biogas and nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Switch to Efficient Bulbs

The traditional incandescent light bulb consumes lot of electricity, and a better alternative is an LED light. LEDs are important because due to their efficiency and low energy, they are beginning to replace most conventional light sources. A LED reduces pollution by a ton per light per year, with almost 80 percent reduction in energy consumption. Although the price of such a bulb is higher, it will surely cover expenses through energy savings.

Unplug Gadgets

A simple method to protect the environment is to remove the power source when you turn off the gadgets. Putting gadgets (or appliances) on stand-by mode consume a lot of power and substantial cost savings can be made by stopping this practice. Prevent energy wastage by unplugging any gadgets not in use or that are fully charged. You may also use smart power strips that cut the power supply to devices that no longer need it. 

Pull that plug!

Use Filtered Water

Buying packaged water is good for your health but this does create a problem. Plastic waste is something that everyone should worry about. At the same time the water you buy will be transported for a long distance until it reaches the supermarket. This means that precious fossil fuel is used in its transportation. An alternative that reduces its environmental impact is to filter your own water and use a refillable water container. Tap water is good for consumption and you can always use filtration systems to increase water quality.

African Development Bank and Renewable Energy

Africa has huge renewable energy potential with some of the world’s largest concentration of alternative energy resources in the form of solar, wind, hydro, and energy. Overall, 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are in the top-33 countries worldwide with combined reserves of solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy far exceeding annual consumption. Most of the sub-Saharan countries receive solar radiation in the range of 6-8 kWh/m2/day, which counts among the highest amounts of solar radiation in the world. Until now, only a small fraction of Africa’s vast renewable energy potential has been tapped.  The renewable energy resources have the potential to cover the energy requirements of the entire continent.

The African Development Bank has supported its member countries in their energy development initiatives for more than four decades. With growing concerns about climate change, AfDB has compiled a strong project pipeline comprised of small- to large-scale wind-power projects, mini, small and large hydro-power projects, cogeneration power projects, geothermal power projects and biodiesel projects. The major priorities for the Bank include broadening the supply of low-cost environmentally clean energy and developing renewable forms of energy to diversify power generation sources in Africa. The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives the Bank endeavors to become a major force in clean energy development in Africa.

Energy projects are an important area of the AfDB’s infrastructure work, keeping in view the lack of access to energy services across Africa and continued high oil prices affecting oil-importing countries. AfDB’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), and other programmes, are in the process of identifying priority investment projects in renewable energy, which also include small and medium scale hydro and biomass co-generation.  The Bank supports its member countries towards developing renewable energy projects in three ways:

  • By encouraging countries to mainstream clean energy options into national development plans and energy planning.
  • By promoting investment in clean energy and energy efficiency ventures
  • By supporting the sustainable exploitation of the huge energy potential of the continent, while supporting the growth of a low-carbon economy.

FINESSE Africa Program

The FINESSE Africa Program, financed by the Dutch Government, has been the mainstay of AfDB’s support of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 2004. The Private Sector department of AfDB, in collaboration with the Danish Renewable Energy Agency (DANIDA), has developed a robust project pipeline of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy projects for upcoming five years. 

The FINESSE program has helped in project preparation/development for Lesotho (rural electrification by means of different sources of renewable energy), Madagascar (rural water supply using solar water pumps), Ghana (energy sector review) and Uganda (solar PV for schools and boarding facilities), as well as on the development of the energy component of the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Program in Uganda (solar PV, hydropower and grid extension), the Bank’s initiative on bio-ethanol in Mozambique (including co-funding a recent bio fuels workshop in Maputo) and the AfDB Country Strategy Paper revision in Madagascar.

Clean Energy Investment Framework

The AfDB’s Clean Energy Investment Framework aims at promoting sustainable development and contributing to global emissions reduction efforts by using a three-pronged approach: maximize clean energy options, emphasize energy efficiency and enable African countries to participate effectively in CDM sector. The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives the Bank endeavors to become a major force in clean energy development in Africa.

In order to finance energy access and clean energy development operations, the Bank Group will draw on resources from its AfDB non-concessional window to finance public-sponsored projects and programs in countries across Africa. According to the Framework, AfDB will work with a range of stakeholders (national governments, regional organizations, sub-sovereign entities, energy and power utilities, independent power producers and distributors, sector regulators, and civil society organizations) on key issues in clean energy access and climate adaptation in all regional member countries. 

Climate Investment Funds

Part of the AfDB’s commitment to supporting Africa’s move toward climate resilience and low carbon development is expanding access to international climate change financing. The African Development Bank is implementing the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), a pair of funds designed to help developing countries pilot transformations in clean technology, sustainable management of forests, increased energy access through renewable energy, and climate-resilient development. The AfDB has been involved with the CIF since their inception in 2008. 

The Bank is actively supporting African nations and regions as they develop CIF investment plans and then channeling CIF funds, as well as its own co-financing, to turn those plans into action. One of the Climate Investment Funds, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) provides developing countries with positive incentives to scale up the demonstration, deployment, and transfer of technologies with a high potential for long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings. 

In the Middle East and North Africa region, US$750 million in CTF funding is supporting deployment of 1GW of solar power generation capacity, reducing about 1.7 million tons of CO2 per year from the energy sectors of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. In Morocco, US$197 million in CTF funding is cofinancing the world’s largest concentrated solar power initiative. Another US$125 million is helping scale up investments in its wind energy program targeting 2GW by 2020.

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الطاقه المتجددة بالمغرب العربي

المغرب، كونها أكبر مستورد للطاقة في شمال أفريقيا، تبذل جهودا مركزة للحد من اعتمادها على الوقود الأحفوري المستورد. وتعتبر الطاقة المتجددة  مصدر موثوق في بلد مثل المغرب العربي التي لديها الاعتماد الكامل تقريبا على شركات الطاقة المستوردة.والمغرب تنفق سنويا  أكثر من 3 مليارات دولار على واردات الوقود والكهرباء في حين انها تشهد نمو الطلب على الطاقة بمعدل 6.5 في المئة سنويا.

وفقا لتقرير الوزارة المغربية للطاقة والتعدين، الطاقة الإجمالية المركبة للطاقة المتجددة (باستثناء الطاقة المائية) ما يقرب من 300ميجا وات في عام 2011. وقد حققت الحكومة المغربية بالفعل هدفها المتمثل في توفير حوالي 8٪ من إجمالي الطاقة الأولية من مصادر الطاقة المتجددة بحلول عام 2012 والذي يتضمن توليد الطاقة وتحويلها وتوزيعها.المغرب يخطط لاستثمار 13 مليار دولار لتوسيع مشاريع طاقة الرياح، والقدرة على توليد الطاقة الشمسية والكهرومائية التي من شأنها ايصال حصة مصادر الطاقة المتجددة في مزيج الطاقة إلى 42٪ بحلول عام 2020، مع الطاقة الشمسية وطاقة الرياح والطاقة المائية بمساهمة فردية من كلا علي حدي تصل الي 14٪.

 

برنامج الطاقة الشمسية في المغرب

أطلق المغرب أحد أكبر وأكثر الخطط طموحا في مجال الطاقة الشمسية في العالم باستثمارات قدرها 9 مليارات دولار أمريكي. وتعتبر خطة الطاقة الشمسية المغربية كعلامة فارقة على طريق البلاد نحو إمدادات طاقة آمنة ومستدامة وايضا هي طاقة نظيفة وخضراء وبأسعار معقولة. الهدف من هذه الخطة هو توليد 2000 ميغاواط (أو 2 جيجاوات) من الطاقة الشمسية بحلول العام 2020 من خلال بناء مشاريع الطاقة الشمسية على نطاق ضخم في خمس موقع – العيون (الصحراء) وبوجدور (الصحراء الغربية)، طرفاية (جنوب أغادير )، عين بني مطهر (وسط) ورزازات – باستخدام تقنيات مختلفة للطاقة الشمسية من استخدامات مسخنات حرارية والخلايا الضوئية والمركزات الشمسية.

وسيكون اول مصنع، في إطار خطة الطاقة الشمسية المغربية، سيتم التكليف به في عام 2014، ومن المتوقع أن يكتمل في عام 2019 المشروع بأكمله. وبمجرد الانتهاء،فمن المتوقع لمشروع للطاقة الشمسية توفير ما يقرب من خمس توليد الكهرباء السنوي في المغرب.

المغرب، الدولة الافريقية الوحيدة التي لديها وصلة كابلات الطاقة إلى أوروبا، هو أيضا تلعب دورا رئيسيا في خطة الطاقة الشمسية لحوض البحر المتوسط والمعروفة بمبادرة ديزيرتيك الصناعية. يهدف مفهوم ديزيرتيك لبناء محطات الطاقة الشمسية لتزويد الطاقة المتجددة من منطقة الشرق الأوسط إلى الدول الأوروبية باستخدام كابلات الجهد العالي ذات التيار المباشر (HVDC).

في المرحلة الاولي لتوليد 500ميجاواط في ورزازات وهي أكبر محطة للطاقة الشمسية الحرارية في العالم. سيتم بناؤها باستثمار 2.3 مليار يورو تقديريا، و المشروع هو المرحلة الاولي ليتم تنفيذها في إطار خطة الطاقة الشمسية المغربية. مجمع للطاقة الشمسية ورزازات، بسعة إجمالية قدرها 500 ميغاواط، وسوف يدخل في خدمة شبكات التوزيع المغربية في عام 2015 ويبلغ حجم انتاجها تقريبا 1.2 تيراوات ساعه / سنويا لتلبية الطلب المحلي. وسوف تكون المرحلة الأولى تقنية القطع المكافئ بانتاجية 160 ميغاواط في حين سيتم استخدام الخلايا الضوئية و تقنية المجمعات الشمسية CSP في مراحل لاحقة.

ومحطة عين بني التكاملية بين النظام الشمسي كدورة مركبة مع المحطة البخارية هي واحدة من مشاريع الطاقة الشمسية الواعدة في أفريقيا. المحطة تجمع بين الطاقة الشمسية والطاقة الحرارية، ويتوقع أن يصل إلى الطاقة الإنتاجية من 250ميغاواط بحلول نهاية عام 2012. البنك الأفريقي للتنمية، بالتعاون مع مرفق البيئة العالمية وهيئة الكهرباء الوطنية المغربية (ONE)، تقوم بتمويل ما يقرب من الثلثين من تكلفة المحطة، أو حوالي 200 مليون يورو.

في عام 2010، تم تعيين الوكالة المغربية للطاقة الشمسية (MASEN)، وهي مشروع مشترك للقطاعين العام والخاص مخصصا لتنفيذ هذه المشاريع. وبهدف تنفيذ المشروع ككل ال التنسيق والإشراف على الأنشطة الأخرى المتصلة بهذه المبادرة. المعنيون واصحاب القرارات من المشروع جهات تشمل صندوق الحسن الثاني للتنمية الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، شركة الاستثمار الطاقوية وهيئة الكهرباء الوطنية المغربية (ONE). ويدعم خطة الطاقة الشمسية من ألمانيا، بتمويل تقدمها وزارة البيئة الألمانية (BMU) وبنك التنمية الألماني Entwicklungsbank بينما تعمل GIZ في المهارات وبناء القدرات اللازمة للصناعة.

 

برنامج المغرب لاستخدام طاقة الرياح

المغرب لديه إمكانات ضخمة لاستخدام طاقة الرياح نظرا لان لديها 3500 كم خط الساحل ومتوسط ​​سرعة الرياح بين 6 و 11 م / ث.

مناطق بالقرب من ساحل المحيط الأطلسي، مثل الصويرة وطنجة وتطوان (مع ​​متوسط ​​سرعة الرياح السنوية بين 9.5 و 11 م / ث في 40 مترا)

 وطرفاية والعيون والداخلة، وتازة (مع متوسط ​​سرعة الرياح السنوية بين 7.5 و 9.5 م / ث في 40 مترا) بسرعه رياح جيدة.

 وفقا لدراسة أجرتها CDER وGTZ، يقدر امكانية سواحل المغرب الكلية لطاقة الرياح بنحو 7963 تيراواط ساعة سنويا، وهو ما يعادل نحو 2600 غيغاواط. تم تثبيت مجموع طاقة الرياح في المغرب في نهاية عام 2010 مع أكثر من 286  ميجا واط و اكثر من 800 ميجاواط تحت الانشاء.

تم تثبيت أول مزرعة رياح في المغرب في عام 2000 مع قدرة 50.4 ميجاواط بمنطقه الكوتيا البيضاء (Tlat Taghramt – محافظة تطوان)، تقع علي بعد 17 كم من بلدة Fnidek. الإنتاج السنوي للمشروع حوالي 200 جيجاواط ساعة، وهو ما يمثل 1٪ من استهلاك الكهرباء القومية السنوية.

 في عام 2007، تم انشاء محطةAmogdoul بقدره انتاجية 60 ميجاواط كمزرعة الرياح، على كاب سيم جنوب الصويرة، وتم نشر تفاصيل المحطة على الانترنت. وقد تم تنفيذ وتشغيل المحطة من قبل هيئة الكهرباء الوطنية المغربية ONE، وتنتج حوالي 210 جيجاواط ساعة / السنة. مشروع آخر هو 140 ميغاواط ذو علامة واضحة في مجال استخدام طاقة الرياح في Allak، EL- Haoud وBeni Mejmel، بالقرب من طنجة وتطوان والذي دخل في الشبكة القومية المغربية في عام 2010 مع انتاج سنوية تبلغ 526 جيجا واط ساعة سنويا.

المغرب لديها خطة واضحة وتسعي لتحقيقها بتوفير 2 ميجا واط من طاقة الرياح بحلول عام 2020. وسوف تخرج عن قريب اكبر محطة طاقة رياح في افريقيا بمطقة Tarfaya بقدره انتاجية 300 ميجا واط وبتكلفة استثمارية بحوالي 350 مليون دولار.

هيئة الكهرباء الوطنية المغربية ONE تقوم بتطوير حوالي نص المشاريع المتفق عليها بينما النصف الاخر يستثمر بواسطة المنتــفعين والقطاع الخاص من خلال برنامج مباردة EnergiPro والذي يقوم بتشجيع المصنعين والمستثمرين لتقليل تكاليف الانتاج بانتاج طاقة محلية بقدره 50 ميجا واط . وججزء من المباردة (ONE) تضمن الدخول للشبكة القومية مع امكانية شراء الفائض من الكهرباء المنتجة بتعريفة وحوافز تختلف باختلاف المشروع القائم للانتاج.

 

ترجمه: هبة احمد مسلم- دكتور الهندسة البيئية. باحث في الشئون البيئية. معهد الدراسات والبحوث البيئيةجامعه عين شمس.

مدرس بالاكاديمية العربية للعلوم والتكنولوجيا والنقل البحري-  مصر.

التحكم في البيئة والطاقه داخل المباني.

هندسة الميكانيكة- وكيل محرك دويتس الالماني بمصر. 

للتواصل عبر hebamosalam2000@gmail.com   

 

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CDM Projects in MENA Region

 

The MENA region is an attractive CDM destination as it is rich in renewable energy resources and has a robust oil and gas industry. Surprisingly, countries in MENA host very few and declining number of CDM projects with only 23 CDM projects registered till date. The region accounts for only 1.5 percent of global CDM projects and only two percent of emission reduction credits. The two main challenges facing many of these projects are: weak capacity in most MENA countries for identifying, developing and implementing carbon finance projects and securing underlying finance. 

The registered CDM projects in MENA countries are primarily located in UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Syria and Tunisia. Other countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, are also exploring opportunities for implementing projects that could be registered under the Kyoto Protocol.

Potential CDM projects that can be implemented in the region may come from varied areas like sustainable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, landfill gas capture, industrial processes, biogas technology and carbon flaring. For example, the energy efficiency projects in the oil and gas industry, can save millions of dollars and reduce tons of CO2 emissions. In addition, renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, holds great potential for the region, similar to biomass in Asia.

Let us take a look at some of the recent registered CDM projects from the MENA region.

Al-Shaheen Project (Qatar)

The Al-Shaheen project is the first of its kind in the region and third CDM project in the petroleum industry worldwide. The Al-Shaheen oilfield has flared the associated gas since the oilfield began operations in 1994. Prior to the project activity, the facilities used 125 tons per day (tpd) of associated gas for power and heat generation, and the remaining 4,100 tpd was flared. Under the current project, total gas production after the completion of the project activity is 5,000 tpd with 2,800-3,400 tpd to be exported to Qatar Petroleum (QP); 680 tpd for on-site consumption, and only 900 tpd still to be flared. The project activity will reduce GHG emissions by approximately 2.5 million tCO2 per year and approximately 17 million tCO2 during the initial seven-year crediting period.

GASCO Project (Abu Dhabi)

Located at the Asab and Bab gas processing plants in Abu Dhabi, the energy efficiency project is the fifth CDM project in the UAE to be registered under the Kyoto Protocol. The ADNOC's GASCO CDM project helps to reduce CO2 emissions through installation of a device in the flare line to considerably reduce the consumption of fuel gas, thereby ensuring lower greenhouse gas emissions. The project contributes to Abu Dhabi's and ADNOC's goals for sustainable development while improving air quality in the region. This retrofit project is expected to generate approximately 7,770 CERs per year.

Kafr El Dawar Project (Egypt)

Located at the Egypt for Spinning, Weaving and Dying Company in Kafr El Dawar near Alexandria, the fuel switching project is the latest CDM project from MENA to be registered under the Kyoto Protocol. The Kafr El Dawar CDM project helps reduce COemissions through switching from the higher carbon intensive fuel such as Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to natural gas, a lower carbon intensive fossil fuel, contributing to Egypt’s goals in sustainable development. It has also significantly mitigated atmospheric emissions of pollutants while improving air quality in the region. The replacement of HFO with natural gas is expected to generate approximately 45,000 Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) per year.

 

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World Environment Day 2017: Connecting People with Nature

"Connecting People to Nature", the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share. This year’s theme invites you to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship. 

People and Nature

‘Connecting People to Nature’ urge us to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship.

Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate full well their dependence on natural water supplies and how nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation.

Nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms. Like clean air, they are often taken for granted, at least until they become scarce. However, economists are developing ways to measure the multi-trillion-dollar worth of many so-called ‘ecosystem services’, from insects pollinating fruit trees to the leisure, health and spiritual benefits of a hike up a valley.

Over the last few decades we have gained, thanks to scientific advances and increased awareness of environmental matters, a much better understanding of the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being. Whilst nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms, what they have to offer mankind is invaluable. 

World Environment Day organisers are challenging us to find fun and exciting way to experience and cherish this valuable relationship. Whether you pay a visit to one of your country’s national parks or take a stroll through one of your city’s green spaces, WED is an ideal occasion to go out and explore what nature has to offer. 

In the age of concrete and smartphones (and the many other distractions of modern life), connections with nature can be fleeting. But with your help, World Environment Day can make it clearer than ever that we need harmony between humanity and nature so that both are able to thrive.

Canada, the host country

Every World Environment Day has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. This year it is Canada.

Its rich and spectacular natural heritage is a source of pride and identity for Canadians. Abundant natural resources also support the country’s economic prosperity – through tourism as well as sustainable use – and the health and well-being of its 36 million inhabitants.

World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere….

District Cooling Perspectives for the Middle East

District cooling produces chilled water in a centralized location for distribution to buildings like offices and factories through a network of insulated underground pipes. The chilled water travels to different buildings, where the water circulates through refrigeration coils or uses absorption technology to enter the air-conditioning system. During winter, the source for the cooling can often be sea water, so it is a cheaper resource than using electricity to run compressors for cooling.

What is District Cooling

District cooling provides effective control over internal temperature of a building, requires less maintenance than a standalone air-conditioning system, consumes lesser space and reduces noise pollution. The effect of district cooling systems on the environment is minimal because of the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, use of eco-friendly refrigerants and implementation of rigorous health and safety standards.

The Helsinki district cooling system in Finland uses waste heat from CHP power generation units to run absorption refrigerators for cooling during summer time, greatly reducing electricity usage. In winter time, cooling is achieved more directly using sea water. The adoption of district cooling is estimated to reduce the consumption of electricity for cooling purposes by as much as 90 percent. The idea is now being adopted in other Finnish cities.

The use of district cooling is also growing rapidly in Sweden and in a similar way. District cooling is very widespread in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. In fact, approx. 7 million square meters of commercial space in Stockholm is connected to the district cooling grid. The Stockholm district cooling grid currently consists of different systems with capacities ranging from 3 MW to 228 MW. The district cooling network in Stockholm is currently 76 kilometers long.

District Cooling Prospects in the Middle East

There is tremendous potential for the utilization of district cooling systems in the Middle East. The constant year-round heat coupled with expensive glass exteriors for hotel, airports and offices etc result in very high indoor temperatures. The combination of distributed generation of power and utilization of waste heat can provide a sustainable solution to meet the high demand for refrigeration in the region. District cooling systems can provide cooling solutions to commercial buildings, hotels, apartment blocks, shopping malls etc.

The world’s largest district cooling plant, Integrated District Cooling Plant (IDCP), was installed in The Pearl-Qatar in 2010. IDCP will service more than 80 apartment towers, beachfront villas, townhouses, shopping complexes, offices, schools and hotels throughout the Island, ultimately supplying more than 130,000 tons of refrigeration to the Island’s estimated 50,000 residents.

Despite paramount importance of air conditioning in Middle East countries, regional governments have failed to incorporate it in policy and planning which has lead to the evolution of an unregulated market for cooling systems.  Most of the cooling methods employed nowadays are based on traditional window units or central air cooling systems where consume copious amount of power and also damage the environment.

District cooling has the potential to provide a viable solution to meet air conditioning requirements in the Middle East. Low energy requirement, peak saving potential, eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness are major hallmarks of district cooling networks. District cooling can play a vital role in fostering sustainable development in Middle East nations. Apart from providing cooling needs, district cooling can reduce the need for new power plants, slash fossil fuel requirements and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the region.   

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CDM Enhancing Africa’s Profile Among Investors

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an extremely simple concept. Companies in developed economies can continue with their polluting ways so long as they pay for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the world. Substitute Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Zimbabwe and a string of other African countries for 'elsewhere'.

CDM may not figure highly on the financial radar screens of many entrepreneurs and business people across the globe. They're probably much more exercised over the merits or otherwise of business banking services, But maybe they should be looking at CDM, not least because entrepreneurial activity and green make interesting bedfellows these days.

The rationale behind CDM is a fascinating one. It's predicated on the belief that it's far harder and costlier for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than developing countries. That's because developing countries usually start from a less-cluttered and less-regulated historical background. However, projects demonstrating reduced greenhouse gas emissions must also meet sustainable development and additionality criteria in order to qualifying for CDM support.

Put simply, this means any project or venture must clearly show that the use of resources not only meets human needs but also doesn't harm the environment at the same time. And any greenhouse gas reductions made as a consequence would have happened anyway, with or without CDM funding. The international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was the forerunner to the legally binding Kyoto Protocol, adopted by almost all countries of the world.

Under Kyoto, the most highly industrialized countries are required to achieve quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Less-developed countries, which are much more likely to suffer disproportionately from the effects of any climate change, don't have such targets. According to the UNFCCC secretariat, the CDM and other market-based mechanisms, adopted as part of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The mechanism, says the UNFCCC secretariat, stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction limitation targets. The UNFCCC announced at the beginning of February 2013 the number of CDM projects registered had reached the 6,000 mark. Last week, the UNFCCC secretariat and the East African Development Bank (EADB) signed a partnership agreement to establish a regional collaboration centre in Kampala, Uganda, in an effort to increase participation in CDM projects.

It is the second such centre in Africa, the first one being opened several months ago in Lomé, Togo, by the UNFCCC in collaboration with the BanqueOuestAfricaine de Développement. UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said, “The two regional collaboration centres in Lomé and Kampala are designed to help Africa increase its attractiveness and potential for CDM. Our goal is to build capacity, reduce the risk for investors in such projects and help make the continent an increasingly attractive destination for CDM projects.”

The office in Kampala will be operational from May 2013. Besides hosting the office, the EADB is also expected to provide personnel, as well as administrative and logistical support. EADB Director General Vivienne Yeda lauded the partnership between the two organizations and said, “This partnership with UNFCCC is key for us at EADB as we invest in sustainable development and seek to ensure sustainability in all our operations. We hope that the new office will help increase the regional distribution of CDM projects in East Africa where there is an acute need for sustainable development.”

The Kampala office is expected to enhance capacity-building and provide hands-on support to governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses interested in developing CDM projects in more than 20 countries in the region. Among the countries that can seek support from the new office are Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

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إمكانات توليد الطاقة من مخلفات النخيل

date-palm-biomassيعد تمر النخيل احد المنتجات الزراعية الاساسية في المناطق الجافة و شبه الجافة في العالم خاصة في الشرق الأوسط و شمال افريقيا. يوجد اكثر من 120 مليون شجرة نخيل في العالم تنتج عدة ملايين من الاطنان من التمر كل عام، بالاضافة الي المنتجات الثانوية و التي تشمل عروق النخيل، الأوراق، السيقان، السعف و الليف. يمتلك العالم العربي اكثر من 84 مليون شجرة نخيل و اغلبها في مصر، العراق، المملكة العربية السعودية، ايران، الجزائر، المغرب، تونس و الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

تعتبر مصر اكبر منتج في العالم للتمر حيث بلغ إنتاجها السنوي في عام 2012  1.47مليون طن من التمر و هو ما يمثل حوالي خمس الانتاج العالمي. تمتلك المملكة العربية السعودية اكثر من 23 مليون شجرة نخيل و التي تنتج حوالي مليون طن من التمر في العام. تدر أشجار النخيل كميات هائلة من المخلفات الزراعية في شكل أوراق جافة، سيقان، نوي التمر، بذور، الخ. يمكن لشجرة نخيل واحدة ان تنتج نمطيا ما يقرب من 20 كيلوجرام من الأوراق الجافة سنويا بينما يمثل نوي التمر غالبا 10% من ثمرة التمر. اثبتت بعض الدراسات ان المملكة العربية السعودية وحدها قادرة علي ان تنتج اكثر من 200,000 طن من الكتلة الحيوية لتمر النخيل كل عام. 

يعتبر تمر النخيل من مصادر الطاقة الطبيعية المتجددة لانه يمكن استبدالها في وقت قصير نسبيا. تستغرق شجرة النخيل من 4-8 سنوات حتي تثمر بعد زرعها، ومن 7-10 سنوات حتي يكون حصاد ثمرها اقتصاديا. يتم عادة حرق مخلفات تمر النخيل في مزارع او يتم التخلص منها في مقالب القمامة مما يسبب تلوث بيئي في مناطق انتاج التمر. في بلدان مثل العراق و مصر يستخدم جزء صغير من الكتلة الحيوية للنخيل في انتاج الأعلاف الحيوانية.

الكتلة الحيوية للنخيل تحتوي علي المكونات الاساسية الآتية سليولوز و هيميسليولوز و اللغنين. بالاضافة الي ذلك يحتوي النخيل علي نسبة عالية من المواد الصلبة المتطايرةو نسبة منخفضة من الرطوبة. و بفضل هذه العوامل و المكونات تكون الكتلة الحيوية للنخيل مصدرا ممتازا لإنتاج الطاقة من المخلفات في منطقة الشرق الأوسط و شمال افريقيا. يوجد نطاق واسع من تكنولوجيات حرارية و كيمياء حيوية تستخدم لتحويل الطاقة المختزنة في الكتلة الحيوية للنخيل الي عدة صور مفيدة من الطاقة. وجود نسبة رطوبة منخفضة في تمر النخيل تجعل مخلفاته مناسبة تماما لتكنولوجيا التحويل الحراري و الكيميائي مثل الإحراق و التحويل الي غاز و الانحلال الحراري.

علي الجانب الاخر، وجود نسبة عالية من المواد الصلبة المتطايرة في الكتلة الحيوية للنخيل تدل علي إمكانيتها لإنتاج غاز حيوي في مصانع التهضيم اللاهوائي، و من الممكن بواسطة التهضيم المشارك مع المخلفات الصلبة للصرف الصحي، المخلفات الحيوانية  و النفايات الغذائية. يمكن تحويل المحتوي السليولوزي في مخلفات النخيل الي وقود حيوي (إيثانول حيوي) عن طريق استخدام عملية التخمير. و بالتالي فان وجود أشجار النخيل بوفرة في بلدان مجلس التعاون الخليجي، و علي الأخص المملكة العربية السعودية، يحفز علي تطوير قطاعي الكتلة الحيوية و الوقود الحيوي في المنطقة. 

 

Translated by Maiy Latif and Katie Holland

مي لطيف مهندسة بترول تخرجت من جامعة كالجري الكندية و لها خبرة عالمية في مجال النفط و البيئة. تخصصت مي في تنمية مشروعات تتعلق بحماية البيئة  و السلامة و الصحة و الأمان في مجال النفط من خلال عمليات معالجة مخلفات و نفايات نفطية. تعمل مي في شركة هندسية كندية لها مشاريع في الولايات المتحدة، النرويج، الكويت، السعودية و اندونيسيا. 

Katie Holland graduated from Durham University in 2015 with a degree in Arabic and French, having also studied Persian. Currently working in London, she hopes to develop a career that uses her knowledge of Arabic and the Middle East, alongside pursuing her various interests in the arts. 

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Green SMEs in Middle East: Obstacles and Challenges

green-smes-middle-eastWith ‘green’ being the buzzword across all industries, greening of the business sector and development of green skills has assumed greater importance all over the world, and Middle East is no exception. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in eco-design, green architecture, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability are spearheading the transition to green economy across a wide range of industries. Green SME sector in the Middle East has been growing steadily, albeit at a slower pace than anticipated. 

Regulations

One of the major obstacles in the progress of green SMEs in the Middle East the has been poorly-designed regulation. According to Ruba A. Al-Zu’bi, a renowned sustainable development consultant in MENA, “SMEs should be the drivers of transformation towards green economy in the Middle East. Lack of clear policy direction and enablers are hindering growth and competitiveness of green SMEs”. Product market regulations which stifle competition pose a big hurdle to SMEs operating in renewables, energy, environment and sustainability sectors.  For example, state-owned companies in GCC have almost complete monopoly in network industries which have large environmental impacts (electricity/energy sector) or control strategic environmental services (water and waste management sector).

Restructuring

Restructuring of the SME sector in the Middle East is essential to allow small businesses to grow and prosper, thus catalyzing region’s transition to a green economy. SMEs account for vast majority of production units and employment across the Middle East, for example SMEs are responsible for around 60% of UAE’s GDP. Needless to say, participation of SMEs is essential in the transition to a low-carbon economy, thus paving the way for greening the business sector and development of green skills across all industrial segments.

Green SMEs require strong government support for growth, which is unfortunately lacking in several GCC countries. As Ruba Al-Zu’bi puts it, “Despite the humongous opportunity for green growth in the Middle East, magnified by climate change, water scarcity, oil dependency and environmental footprint, green SMEs are plagued by severe challenges and competition.”

Pressing Challenges

The Middle East region is facing multiple challenges in the growth of green SME sector. As Ruba Al-Zu’bi puts it, “The most pressing challenges are (1) increasing disconnect between education and market needs and (2) the disorientation of research and development from industry priorities and trends. Government agencies, business associations and NGOs need to play a bigger role in advocating more streamlined priorities for green growth across all industrial sectors.” Green SMEs in the region are facing significant barriers to entry despite their key role in developing locally appropriate technologies and eco-friendly business models.

Promising Initiatives

Abu Dhabi has taken a great step towards consolidation of green SME sector by creating the Masdar Free Zone. As a business cluster, Masdar Free Zone endeavors to provide SMEs and startups with an environment that inspires innovation, offers business development opportunities and provides a living lab and test bed for new technologies. However office rents has been a hurdle to overcome for green SMEs with limited financial capabilities.  “High office rents in Masdar Free Zone have been a major deterrent for small businesses desirous of setting shop in the business cluster”, says Dubai-based sustainability consultant Sunanda Swain.

In 2007, Qatar also launched a promising initiative to promote green growth in the form of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) with core areas of focus being energy, environment, health sciences and information and communication technologies. During the initial phase, QSTP has been heavily focused on establishing infrastructure and attracting large companies. During the second phase, QSTP intends to target SMEs and provide them support on legal matters, finance, mentoring and business planning.

Future Perspectives

Policy interventions for supporting green SMEs in the Middle East are urgently required to overcome major barriers, including knowledge-sharing, raising environmental awareness, enhancing financial support, supporting skill development and skill formation, improving market access and implementing green taxation. In recent decades, entrepreneurship in the Middle East has been increasing at a rapid pace which should be channeled towards addressing water, energy, environment and waste management challenges, thereby converting environmental constraints into business opportunities.

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Green Finance in Middle East

Green finance is among the most important enablers that would boost innovation and increase the adoption of green solutions and practices across different industrial sectors. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity.

Middle East is making good progress towards green growth and low-carbon economy. “The latest regional trends highlight the need for green financing mechanisms to support transition to green economy”, said Ruba Al-Zu’bi, CEO of EDAMA. “While green may be the obvious feasible and sustainable approach, access to finance makes it more appealing for small and medium enterprises and to individuals to promptly take the right decision”, she added.

Jordan is one of the earliest proponents of green finance in the Middle East. “Green finance in Jordan is being offered through public channels, such as the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund (JREEEF), commercial banks, micro-finance institutions as well as International Financial Institutions”, said Ruba.  “Most of green finance mechanisms are supported by technical assistance, awareness-raising and targeted marketing activities, all ofwhich are crucial to success of green projects”, she said.

In the GCC, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) is gearing up to launch a $500 million green bond, the first in the region. This green bond will provide a boost to renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, and is expected to catalyze sustainable development projects in the GCC.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi has the distinction of being the first issuer of green bonds in the Middle East

To sum up, green finance will act as a major enabler for local, regional and international financing needs of green projects. The upcoming COP22 in Marrakesh is expected to provide impetus to climate change mitigation and adaptationprojects across the Middle East region. The key to success, according to Ruba Al-Zu’bi, will be market readiness, effective governance frameworks, capacity-building and technology transfer.

Peak Oil: Perspectives for Saudi Arabia

PeakOil-SaudiArabiaThe term ‘peak oil’ is ominous to the Middle East, as most of the countries in the region are heavily dependent on oil and natural gas for industrial, economic and social development. Petroleum is considered one of the world’s most important sources of energy generation, after uranium, of course. Many other substances have been tested in order to be used as alternatives to petroleum, but none have hitherto been successful. Scientific research illustrates how the world is facing catastrophe if it doesn’t find an alternative to oil, as it is currently impossible for the global economy to grow without sufficient amounts of energy which are adapted to the demands of this growth. There is more discussion now than ever before about how the world is definitely starting to approach a stage of peak oil.

What is Peak Oil

Peak oil is a termed coined by the renowned American geologist King Hubbert in the fifties. He managed to predict an oil peak in several regions in America which would occur in the seventies; and exactly what this scientist predicted did in fact happen. For when oil extraction reaches extreme levels it begins to decline and gradually ends. Oil is considered a finite resource, or one which isn’t renewed as it is used up.

This theory confirms that global oil production has reached its peak today and has started declining inexorably now that 50% of the world’s oil reserves have been consumed. This proves that oil could be on the brink of depletion if clear and serious plans are not put in place to guide consumption and therefore encourage using provisional reserves in the best way. However, this theory is not accepted by many or by those who continue to focus on how large the earth’s oil reserves are, and how they only need investment so that they can be drilled.

Peak Oil Scenario for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is considered one of the largest global oil exporters and the only one able to regulate and stabilise the global oil market, thanks to its reserve stocks. These reserves are calculated to be at 265.4 billion barrels, or what is enough to last, at the current level of production, for more than 72 years. According to ARAMCO reports, there are around a trillion barrels that will be discovered in the future and will satisfy global demands, despite current consumption, for one whole century.

 Saudi Arabia is currently focussing its efforts on drilling and extracting natural gas, as it doesn’t import it but depends on domestic production. Alongside this, the Saudi Kingdom is currently making huge investments in nuclear energy and solar power.

But can natural gas and renewable energy be relied upon as alternatives to oil in order to satisfy Saudi Arabia’s domestic needs, which are rapidly growing each day? According to a recent report by America’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), Saudi Arabia is the largest oil-consuming nation in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia consumed 2.9 million barrels per day of oil in 2013, almost double the consumption in 2000, because of strong industrial growth and subsidised prices. One important contributor to Saudi oil demand is the direct crude oil burn for power generation. There is not just enough fuel oil and natural gas to meet the demand and hence the resorting to crude oil.

Has peak oil really arrived? If not today, then when? And how will it look, especially for countries totally dependent on oil? Will its consequences be different for both developed and under-developed nations?  Given that global demand for oil will only grow to exceed 100 million barrels a day after 2020, according to the most extreme estimates, I believe that the time may have come for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to start planning for what follows the oil era.

Despite looming threat of peak oil, power generation capacity in KSA is expected to rise from current level of 58GW to 120GW by 2032, however Saudi Arabia cannot afford to burn rising crude oil volumes for power generation. In spite of the fifth largest natural gas reserves in the world, it does not produce sufficient gas for power generation and for its vast petrochemical industry. The only solution at this point of time is transition to low-carbon economy whereby Saudi Arabia make use of its massive solar energy potential, implement effective measures for improving energy efficiency in the industrial sector and remove huge energy subsidies for industrial and domestic users.

 

Note: The article has been translated from Arabic by Katie Holland who graduated from Durham University in 2015 with a degree in Arabic and French, having also studied Persian. Currently working in London, she hopes to develop a career that uses her knowledge of Arabic and the Middle East, alongside pursuing her various interests in the arts. 

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Green Finance: Powering Sustainable Tomorrow

Green finance provides linkage between the financial industry, protection of the environment and economic growth. Simply speaking, green finance refers to use of financial products and services, such as loans, insurance, stocks, private equity and bonds in green (or eco-friendly) projects. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity. For example, global interest in green energy finance is increasing at a rapid pace – in 2015, investments in green energy reached an all-time high figure of US$ 348.5 billion, which underscores the significance of green finance.

Potential and Promise

Environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, resource conservation and sustainable development play a vital role in access to green finance. During the past few years, green finance (also known as climate finance) has gained increasing relevance mainly due to the urgency of financing climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, and scale of sustainable development projects around the world.

The impetus has been provided by three major agreements adopted in 2015 – Paris Agreement on climate change, a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the ‘financing for development’ package. The implementation of these agreements is strongly dependent on finance, and realizing its importance the G20 nations established Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) in February 2016, co-chaired by China and the UK, with UNEP serving as secretariat.

According to Sustainable Energy for All, a global initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, annual global investments in energy will need to increase from roughly US$400 billion at present to US$1-1.25 trillion, out of which US$40-100 billion annually is needed to achieve universal access to electricity. On the other hand, around US$5-7 trillion a year is needed to implement the SDGs globally. Such a massive investment is a big handicap for developing countries as they will face an annual investment gap of US$2.5 trillion in infrastructure, clean energy, water, sanitation, and agriculture projects. Green finance is expected to fill this gap by aligning financial systems with the financing needs of a sustainable or low-carbon economy.

Bonding with Green

An emerging way to raise debt capital for green projects is through green bonds. Green bonds are fixed income, liquid financial instruments dedicated exclusively to climate change mitigation and adaption projects, and other environment-friendly activities. The prime beneficiaries of green bonds are renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transport, forest management, water management, sustainable land use and other low-carbon projects.

A record US$41 billion worth of green bonds was issued in 2015 which is estimated to rise to US$80 billion by the end of 2016. Notably, the World Bank issued its first green bond in 2008, and has since issued about US$8.5 billion in green bonds in 18 currencies. In addition, the International Finance Corporation issued US$3.7 billion, including two US$1 billion green bond sales in 2013.

Green bonds enable fund raising for new and existing projects with environmental benefits

Green bonds have the potential to raise tens of billions of dollars required each year to finance the global transition to a green economy. According to International Energy Agency, around $53 trillion of energy investments are required till 2035 to put the world on a two-degree path, as agreed during the historic Paris Climate Conference COP21. The main drivers of green bonds for investors includes positive environmental impact of investments, greater visibility in fight against climate change and a strong urge for ‘responsible investment’.

Key Bottlenecks

Many developing countries experience hurdles in raising capital for green investment due lack of awareness and to inadequate technical capacities of financial institutions. Many banks, for instance, are not familiar with the earnings and risk structure of green investments, which makes them reluctant to grant the necessary loans or to offer suitable financing products. With rising popularity of green finance, it is expected that financial institutions will quickly adapt to funding requirements of environment-friendly projects.