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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Unleashing Solar Power in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer of petroleum in the Middle East, with domestic consumption reaching 4 million barrels per day in 2012 out of daily production of 10 million barrels. Saudi Arabia’s primary energy consumption per capita is four times higher than the world average. Strong industrial growth, subsidized oil prices, increasing energy demand for electricity and transportation is leading to a growing clamor for oil in the country. The total energy consumption in the Kingdom is rapidly rising at an average rate of about 6 percent per annum.

Solar Energy Prospects 

To meet the rising local energy demand, Saudi Arabia plans to increase generating capacity to 120 GW by 2020. Residential sector holds the biggest share of total energy consumption, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the electricity usage. Despite being the leading oil producer as well as consumer, Saudi Arabia is showing deep interest in the development of large projects for tapping its rich renewable energy potential, especially solar power. The country plans to invest more than $100 billion in clean energy projects to meet its objective of getting one-third of electricity requirements from alternative energy resources.

There is a growing Interest in utilization of solar energy in Saudi Arabia as the country is blessed with abundant solar flux throughout the year. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest solar irradiation in the world, estimated at approximately 2,200 thermal kWh of solar radiation per square meter. The country is strategically located near the Sun Belt, not to mention wide availability of empty stretches of desert that may accommodate solar power generating infrastructure. Moreover, vast deposits of sand can be used in the manufacture of silicon PV cells which makes Saudi Arabia an attractive location for both CSP and PV power generation. 

Promising Developments

The first initiative from the government was the establishment of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) which is the official agency in-charge of promoting clean energy in the Kingdom. The kingdom is planning to add an additional 41 GW of solar power by 2032, with 16 GW to be generated by photovoltaics and 25 GW by solar thermal power plants. One of the major achievements was the establishment of 3.5MW PV project at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. 

Concentrated solar power is another interesting option for Saudi Arabia due to its strong dependence on desalination plants to meet its water requirement. Waste heat of a CSP power plant can be used to power seawater desalination projects. Recently Saudi Electric Company has selected CSP to produce electricity with 550MW Duba 1 project, an integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Plant located 50km north of Duba near Tuba. The plant is designed to integrate a parabolic trough unit of around 20 to 30MW. 

Keeping in view its regional dominance, Saudi Arabia can play a vital role in the popularization of solar energy in the MENA region. Solar energy program may not only augment oil-wealth of the Kingdom, but also transform Saudi Arabia into a net solar power exporter in the near future. 

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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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Renewable Energy in GCC: Need for a Holistic Approach

The importance of renewable energy sources in the energy portfolio of any country is well known, especially in the context of energy security and impacts on climate change. The growing quest for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been seen by many as both – a compulsion to complement the rising energy demand, and as an economic strength that helps them in carrying forward the clean energy initiatives from technology development to large scale deployment of projects from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh.

Current Scenario

The promotion of renewable energy (RE) is becoming an integral part in the policy statements of governments in GCC countries. Particular attention is being paid to the development and deployment of solar energy for various applications. Masdar is a shining example of a government’s commitment towards addressing sustainability issues through education, R&D, investment, and commercialization of RE technologies. It not only has emerged as the hub of renewable energy development and innovation but is also acting as a catalyst for many others to take up this challenge.

With the ongoing developments in the clean energy sphere in the region, the growing appetite for establishing clean energy market and addressing domestic sustainability issues arising out of the spiralling energy demand and subsidized hydrocarbon fuels is clearly visible. Saudi Arabia is also contemplating huge investments to develop its solar industry, which can meet one-third of its electricity demand by the year 2032. Other countries are also trying to reciprocate similar moves. While rationalizing subsidies quickly may be a daunting task for the governments (as for any other country, for that matter, including India as well), efforts are being made by UAE to push RE in the supply mix and create the market.

Accelerating Renewable Energy Growth

However, renewable energy initiatives are almost exclusively government-led projects. There is nothing wrong in capitalizing hydrocarbon revenue for a noble cause but unless strong policies and regulatory frameworks are put in place, the sector may not see viable actions from private players and investors. The present set of such instruments are either still weak or absent, and, therefore, are unable to provide greater comfort to market players. This situation may, in turn, limit the capacity/flexibility to reduce carbon footprints in times to come as government on its own cannot set up projects everywhere, it can only demonstrate and facilitate.

In this backdrop, it is time to soon bring in reforms that would pave way for successful RE deployment in all spheres. Some of the initiatives that need to be introduced or strengthened include:

  • Enabling policies for grid connected RE that should cover interconnection issues between RE power and utilities, incentives, facilitation and clearances for land, water, and environment (wherever relevant); and
  • Regulatory provisions relating to – setting of minimum Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) to be met, principles of tariff determination for different technologies, provisions for trading in RE, plant operation including scheduling (wherever relevant), and evacuation of power.
  • Creation of ancillary market for effectively meeting the grid management challenges arising from intermittent power like that from solar and wind, metering and energy accounting, protection, connectivity code, safety, etc.

For creating demand and establishing a thriving market, concerted efforts are required by all the stakeholders to address various kinds of issues pertaining to policy, technical, regulatory, and institutional mechanisms in the larger perspective. In the absence of a strong framework, even the world’s most visionary and ambitious project Desertec which  envision channeling of solar and wind power to parts of Europe by linking of renewable energy generation sites in MENA region may also face hurdles as one has to deal with pricing, interconnection, grid stability and access issues first. This also necessitates the need for harmonization in approach among all participating countries to the extent possible.

Conclusions

It is difficult to ignore the benefits of renewable energy be it social, economic, environmental, local or global. Policy statements are essential starting steps for accelerating adoption of clean energy sources including smaller size capacity, where there lies a significant potential. In GCC countries with affluent society, the biggest challenge would be to create energy consciousness and encourage smarter use of energy among common people like anywhere else, and the same calls for wider application of behavioural science in addressing a wide range of sustainability issues.

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Energy Perspectives for Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an emerging and stable economy in the Middle East. Jordan has almost no indigenous energy resources as domestic natural gas covers merely 3% of the Kingdom’s energy needs. The country is dependent on oil imports from neighbouring countries to meet its energy requirements. Energy import costs create a financial burden on the national economy and Jordan had to spend almost 20% of its GDP on the purchase of energy in 2008.

In Jordan, electricity is mainly generated by burning imported natural gas and oil. The price of electricity for Jordanians is dependent on price of oil in the world market, and this has been responsible for the continuous increase in electricity cost due to volatile oil prices in recent years. Due to fast economic growth, rapid industrial development and increasing population, energy demand is expected to increase by at least 50 percent over the next 20 years.

Therefore, the provision of reliable and cheap energy supply will play a vital role in Jordan’s economic growth. Electricity demand is growing rapidly, and the Jordanian government has been seeking ways to attract foreign investment to fund additional capacity. In 2008, the demand for electricity in Jordan was 2260 MW, which is expected to rise to 5770 MW by 2020.

In 2007, the Government unveiled an Energy Master Plan for the development of the energy sector requiring an investment of more than $3 billion during 2007 – 2020. Some ambitious objectives were fixed: heating half of the required hot water on solar energy by the year 2020; increasing energy efficiency and savings by 20% by the year 2020, while 7% of the energy mix should originate from renewable sources by 2015, and should rise to 10% by 2020. 

Concerted efforts are underway to remove barriers to exploitation of renewable energy, particularly wind, solar and biomass. There has been significant progress in the implementation of sustainable energy systems in the last few years to the active support from the government and increasing awareness among the local population.

With high population growth rate, increase in industrial and commercial activities, high cost of imported energy fuels and higher GHGs emissions, supply of cheap and clean energy resources has become a challenge for the Government. Consequently, the need for implementing energy efficiency measures and exploring renewable energy technologies has emerged as a national priority.  In the recent past, Jordan has witnessed a surge in initiatives to generate power from renewable resources with financial and technical backing from the government, international agencies and foreign donors. 

The best prospects for electricity generation in Jordan are as Independent Power Producers (IPPs).  This creates tremendous opportunities for foreign investors interested in investing in electricity generation ventures. Keeping in view the renewed interest in renewable energy, there is a huge potential for international technology companies to enter the Jordan market.  There is very good demand for wind energy equipments, solar power units and waste-to-energy systems which can be capitalized by technology providers and investment groups.

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Renewable Energy Prospects in Africa

With a sixth of the world’s population, Africa generates a measly four percent of the world’s electricity, three-quarters of which is used by South Africa and northern Africa. According to World Bank statistics, more than 500 million Africans (almost two-thirds of the total population) have no access to “modern energy.” Hydropower accounts for around 45% of electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) while biomass (mostly firewood) constitutes about 56 percent of all energy use in sub-Saharan Africa. Large-scale use of forest biomass is accelerating deforestation, and the World Bank estimates that 45,000 square kilometers of forest were lost between 1990 and 2005 across all low-income countries in Africa.

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 biomass 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.

Several African counties, such as South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda and Mali have adopted national targets for renewable energy, and feed-in tariffs for renewable energy electricity have been introduced e.g. in South Africa and Kenya.   Countries such as South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania are developing wind farms.  Geothermal investments are increasing in the Rift Valley area of Eastern Africa.  The pipeline of investments in Africa in hydropower, wind farms, solar PV and concentrated solar thermal, geothermal power and biomass energy underlines the huge potential for a future expansion of renewable energy across the continent.

The African Development Bank, through its public and private sector departments, is currently implementing several clean energy projects and programs to address these priorities particularly in the energy and forestry sectors. The Bank's energy portfolio currently stands at about USD 2 billion. The AfDB provides two lending windows. The first is a public window, with mostly concessional funds available to governments. The second is a private window, which offers debt and equity on commercial terms. 

Hydroelectric power generation represent an attractive investment in Africa because of tremendous hydropower generation potential, 60% of which is locked within Guinea, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The AfDB has committed its support to developing the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, in Ethiopia. Wind farms are another lucrative investment arena for AfDB, as shown by AfDB’s commitment for 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Farm in Kenya.  Lake Turkana Wind Power (LWTP) consortium is constructing a wind farm consisting of 353 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW, in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana. The wind power project is expected to reach full production of 300 MW by the end of 2012.  LTWP can provide reliable and continuous clean power to satisfy up to about 30% of Kenya’s current total installed power. 

The Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Solar Thermal Combined Cycle Power Station is one of the most promising solar power projects in Africa.  The plant combines solar power and thermal power, and is expected to reach production capacity of 250MW by 2012. African Development Bank, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility and Morocco's National Electric Authority, is financing approximately two-thirds of the cost of the plant, or about 200 million Euros.

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.

 

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Renewable Energy in Algeria

Algeria plays a key role in world energy markets as a leading producer and exporter of natural gas and liquefied natural gas. Algeria’s energy mix in 2010 was almost exclusively based on fossil fuels, especially natural gas (93%). However the country has enormous renewable energy potential, mainly solar, which the government is trying to harness by launching an ambitious Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program.

The Program consists of generating 22,000 MW of power from renewable sources between 2011 and 2030, of which 12,000 MW will be meant for domestic consumption and the rest for export. The Program is focused on developing and expanding the use of renewable resources, such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower, in order to diversify energy sources and promote sustainable development of the country.

Around 60 solar photovoltaic plants, concentrating solar power plants, wind farms as well as hybrid power plants are to be constructed within the next ten years. Algeria has also joined the Desertec Industrial Initiative, which aims to use Sahara solar and wind power to supply 15 per cent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050. 

Solar Energy

On account of its geographical location, Algeria holds one of the highest solar potentials in the world which is estimated at 13.9 TWh per year. The country receives annual sunshine exposure equivalent to 2,500 KWh/m2. Daily solar energy potential varies from 4.66 kWh/m2 in the north to 7.26 kWh/m2 in the south.

Pilot projects for the construction of two solar power plants with storage of a total capacity of about 150 MW each, will be launched during the 2011-2013 period. These will be in addition to the hybrid power plant project of Hassi R’Mel with a total power capacity of 150 MW, including 25 MW in solar. Four solar thermal power plants with a total capacity of about 1,200 MW are to be constructed over the period of 2016 to 2020.

The Hassi R'Mel integrated solar combined cycle power station is one of world’s first hybrid power stations. The plant combines a 25 MW parabolic trough concentrating solar power array, covering an area of over 180,000 m2, in conjunction with a 130 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant, so cutting carbon emissions compared to a traditional power station. The gas turbine and steam cycle are fired by natural gas, with the steam turbine receiving additional solar-generated steam during the day. The plant began electricity production in June 2011.

Wind Energy

Algeria has promising wind energy potential of about 35 TWh/year. Almost half of the country experience significant wind speed. The country’s first wind farm is being built at Adrar with installed capacity of 10MW with substantial funding from state-utlity Sonelgaz. Two more wind farms, each of 20 MW, are to be developed during 2014- 2013. Studies will be led to detect suitable sites to realize the other projects  during the period 2016-2030 for a power of  about 1700 MW.

Biomass Energy

Algeria has good biomass energy potential in the form of solid wastes, crop wastes and forestry residues. Solid waste is the best source of biomass potential in the country. According to the National Cadastre for Generation of Solid Waste in Algeria, annual generation of municipal wastes is more than 10 million tons. Solid wastes are usually disposed in open dumps or burnt wantonly.

Conclusions

Despite being a hydrocarbon-rich nation, Algeria is making concerted efforts to harness its renewable energy potential. Algeria’s renewable energy program is one of the most progressive in the MENA region and the government is making all-out efforts to secure investments and reliable technology partners for ongoing and upcoming projects. It is expected that the country will emerge as a major player in international renewable energy arena in the coming years.

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Cleantech Investment by AfDB

The African Development Bank, through its public and private sector departments, is currently implementing several clean energy projects and programs to address these priorities particularly in the energy and forestry sectors. The Bank's energy portfolio currently stands at about USD2 billion. The AfDB provides two lending windows. The first is a public window, with mostly concessional funds available to governments. The second is a private window, which offers debt and equity on commercial terms. 

The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank are in the process of applying to the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) Trust Fund Committee for use of $750 million of concessional funds for the MENA CSP Scale-up. For example, over the first half of 2012, AfDB approved USD800 million in loans to spur private investments in Morocco's renewable energy sector. The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), financially supported by Denmark, aims to support the implementation of AfDB's strategy to provide grants and equity to small-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency project. 

The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank, in collaboration with other donors, are launching an initiative to scale-up Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) up to 1GW over 6-8 years by means of around ten large projects in Africa. Hydroelectric power generation represent an attractive investment opportunity for AfDB as Africa has tremendous hydropower generation potential, 60% of which is locked within Guinea, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The AfDB has committed its support to developing the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, in Ethiopia. Wind farms are another lucrative investment arena for AfDB, as shown by AfDB’s commitment for 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Farm in Kenya. 

Evolution One Fund

In 2009, the African Development Bank has approved a Rand100 million investment in Evolution One Fund, the first specialized private equity fund focused on the acceleration and deployment of clean energy and sustainable technologies across southern Africa. The 10-year private equity fund, managed by Cape Town-based Inspired Evolution Investment Management, will seek to invest predominantly in growth-phase businesses, particularly in eight high-growth sectors, namely clean energy/energy efficiency (up to 50% of its investments), efficient and clean manufacturing processes and technologies, air quality and emissions control. South Africa will account for 60-75% of the fund's overall investments, while up to 25-40% will be earmarked for other Southern African Development Community countries. 

Ain Beni Mathar Solar Project

The Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Solar Thermal Combined Cycle Power Station is the Bank's first experience in solar power. It is working in partnership with the Global Environment Facility and Morocco's National Electric Authority. The African Development Bank is financing approximately two-thirds of the cost of the plant, or about 187.85 million Euros. The plant combines solar power and thermal power, and is expected to reach production capacity of 250MW soon. 

Lake Turkana Wind Project

Lake Turkana Wind Power (LWTP) consortium is constructing a wind farm consisting of 353 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW, in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana. The wind power project has full production of 300 MW.  LTWP can provide reliable and continuous clean power to satisfy up to about 30% of Kenya’s current total installed power. The AfDB Group is facilitating the entire project cost of US$405 million, out of which, the institution intends to provide US$135 million. The AfDB has also agreed to invest US$19 million in a wind power project in the Republic of Cape Verde, off the western coast of Africa. This total cost of the project, consisting of four wind farms with more than 120 wind turbines, is US$84 million.

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Alternative Energy Prospects in Morocco

Morocco, being the largest energy importer in North Africa, is making concerted efforts to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels. The country currently imports 95% of its energy needs which creates strong dependence on foreign energy imports. Renewable energy is an attractive proposition as Morocco has almost complete dependence on imported energy carriers. Morocco is already spending over US$3 billion a year on fuel and electricity imports and is experiencing power demand growth of 6.5 per cent a year. Morocco is investing heavily in the power sector by building new power plants such as expansion of coal power plant in JorfLasfer and establishment new coal power plant near Safi.

According to the Moroccan Ministry of Energy and Mining, the total installed capacity of renewable energy (excluding hydropower) was approximately 300MW in 2011. The Moroccan Government has already achieved its target of supplying around 8% of total primary energy from renewables by 2012 which includes energy generation, conversion and distribution. Morocco is planning USD13 billion expansion of wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation capacity which would catapult the share of renewables in the energy mix to 42% by the year 2020, with solar, wind and hydro each contributing 14%. 

Wind Energy

The technical potential of wind energy in Morocco is estimated to be 25 GW. This is the equivalent to 5 times the current installed power capacity in Morocco, and reflects the huge potential in this clean energy source. Morocco has already installed almost 300 MW wind turbines and other projects are being implemented. At the same time, Morocco launched a wind energy plan consisting in the installation of 2000 MW by 2020. Many experts state that Morocco will install total capacities beyond this plan. In fact, wind energy is already cost competitive with respect to conventional energy resources, and due to the technological progress, the cost is even being reduced significantly. Most of the already implemented projects and those being implemented or planned, are developed by public organisations or within the framework of agreements with public organisations.

Solar Energy

The German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) estimated the potential of solar energy in Morocco to be equivalent to 1500 times the national consumption of electricity. Morocco has invested in solar home systems (SHS) to electrify households in the rural areas. Morocco has launched one of the world’s largest and most ambitious solar energy plan with investment of USD 9billion. The Ain Beni Mather Integrated Solar Thermal Combined Cycle Power Station is one of the most promising solar power projects in Africa.  The plant combines solar power and thermal power, and is expected to reach production capacity of 250MW by the end of 2012. y building mega-scale solar power projects at five location — Laayoune (Sahara), Boujdour (Western Sahara), Tarfaya (south of Agadir), Ain Beni Mathar (center) and Ouarzazate — with modern solar thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated solar power mechanisms.

Hydropower

Morocco is planning to add a total of 2 GW new hydropower capacities, consisting mainly in small and medium stations. This plan should be achieved by 2020, and combined with 2 GW solar energy and 2 GW wind energy capacities would, add a total 6GW renewable energy capacities, which will supply 42% of the Moroccan electricity in 2020. 

Biomass Energy

Unfortunately there is no national strategy to exploit biomass energy in Morocco. However, there are many potential projects which could promote biomass energy sector in the country, such as waste-to-energy, biofuels and biogas from abundant feedstock like solid wastes, crop wastes, industrial wastes etc. The agronomic research has demonstrated the adaptability of new energetic plants to the arid zones. These plants such as Jatropha urcas, could be cultivated in the arid zone in Morocco, and be exploited for biofuels production and as a green barrier against desertification. Like solar and wind, the biomass energy sector also requires support and investment from the government and private sector.

Conclusions

Morocco is endowed with tremendous alternative energy resources which can be exploited to meet national energy requirements as well as export of surplus power to neighbouring countries. Due to its geographical position, Morocco could be a hub for renewable energy exchange between the European Union and North Africa. Renewable energy sector can create good employment opportunities and can also strengthen country’s economy. However, the government should liberalize renewable energy market, encourage public-private partnership and create mass environmental awareness to increase the share of renewable in the national energy mix.

Energy and the Climate: Perspectives for Middle East

Since energy is an absolute necessity for life on Earth, we have utilized many sources of energy to maintain and improve the lives of people around the globe. The ultimate source of energy is the Sun of course, since all living things on Earth such as plants, trees, animals and humans need the Sun’s energy. In addition to the Sun, we have utilized other sources of energy such as oil, coal and nuclear fission.  However, energy has many different forms and we use different forms of energy for different applications. For example, nuclear energy is mostly used to generate electricity, while oil is used to fuel our cars.

Having established the absolute necessity of energy to maintain life on Earth, it is equally critical to understand that energy is also capable of extinguishing life on Earth if misused. For example, the use of oil and coal to generate energy, produces different gases, mostly carbon monoxide, that have negative impact on the environment. Such a negative impact has been identified by scientists as global warming. It has been established that global warming is directly related to the increased level of carbon monoxide in our atmosphere.  As the temperature on Earth continues to rise, the entire climate will start to change as a result of the higher temperature on the surface of Earth. Moreover, any changes in the climate will have a direct impact on life. For example, many plants, trees and even animals may not be able to survive in hotter climate in a specific region of Earth, yet the impact of such change will be felt all over the world.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy has a direct impact on the climate and as a result has direct impact on all living creatures on Earth. It is the responsibility of all people on Earth to preserve our current climate by using clean sources of energy, such as solar and wind, and moving away from oil and coal. Climate has direct impact not only on the food we eat, but on our ability to survive in certain regions of the planet.

Since most people in developing countries do not completely understand the direct relationship between the energy they use and the climate change as a result, while others in the more developed countries put economical gain ahead of the environment, additional laws with larger penalties may be needed to be enforced around the world. In addition, all governments must focus on the research and development of clean energy sources and slowly move away from oil and coal as both sources are considered to be the ultimate sources of pollution to the environment, which may result in permanent change to the climate on Earth. Meanwhile, and until the clean energy sources are fully developed and utilized around the world, maintaining current trees and planting new ones will definitely help offset the effects caused by the release of Carbone Monoxide into the air.  

Difference between China and the Middle East

It has been known for some time now that China has been one of the largest contributors to air pollution due to its significant economic growth which mostly depends on oil, and its large population; however, the Middle East is also on top of the list of countries and regions that heavily depend on cheap oil prices to power the engine of their economies. The main difference however, between China and the rich-oil countries in the Middle East is that in recent years, China has signed several international agreements to reduce air pollution by different means. The Chinese people in addition, have come a long way to better understand the global impact due to air pollution.

The oil-rich countries in the Middle East on the other hand, are still behind very much the rest of the world in this area, mainly due to the lack of education on many of the environmental issues, as well as the lack of any alternative energy sources. However, time has come for all these countries to start looking into other alternative energy sources before it is too late

Pressure on Industrialized Countries

As more and more people on this planet become aware of the deadly consequences of using oil as a source of energy, the internal and external pressure keeps mounting on the industrialized countries to look for alternative energy sources. In fact, it is only a matter of time before these industrialized countries develop alternative energy sources on mass scale, which may eventually cause the death of the oil industry completely. For example, the use of cold fusion as an energy source would make the price of one barrel of oil less than $1.

Most, if not all of the oil-rich countries today believe that there is no need to make the transition to clean energy because the world needs their oil, or at least, they can continue to power their economies using oil instead of clean energy. But the sad truth is that once an alternative clean energy sources have been identified, these oil rich nations would have no choice but to abandon their oil fields and move into the alternatives. One simple fact these nations need to consider is that in the foreseeable future, developed countries would boycott all products and services created and maintained using oil-powered factories instead of clean energy.

Currently, there are many clean energy sources that have been developed, tested and used around the world. Some of these sources include solar energy, wind energy, water energy, geothermal energy, ocean energy, biomass and of course, nuclear (fission and fusion) energies. The use of any of those alternative energy sources doesn’t release any Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere and will maintain the level of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere at acceptable ratio.

Transition to Clean Energy

For the rich-oil countries in the Middle East, the transition from oil-dependent economies to clean energy dependent economies requires three vital ingredients:

  1. Education: people in the Middle East need to first be educated on all environmental issues and why the transition from oil to clean energy source is a necessity at this time. As long as the average man on the Arab street doesn’t understand the imminent danger of climate change and how it is related to the use of oil, then the transition will be difficult, slow and costly. Educating people is the starting point.
  2. Investment: the transition to clean energy will initially require a huge investment in a new infrastructure especially for clean energy. Such infrastructure may not be cheap to build from the ground up, but the return on investment (ROI) will be quit high at the end.
  3. Time: phasing out the oil-dependent economies completely takes time. The transition to clean energy will take many years before reaching the ultimate goal. However, a well-thought out plan to make such a transition is possible provided that these countries are serious, willing and able to make such a move. Starting with one step at a time will definitely lead to the end goal, but someone has to take the first step

Finally, as energy consumption is directly related to climate change, energy conservation is also directly related to environmental issues. Though physics laws show the energy is conserved, yet the form of energy we use is not. Therefore, people around the world, especially in the Middle Eastern countries, need to be made aware of the importance of energy conservation. The Middle East countries in general, and GCC countries in particular, must start educating their citizens on energy, climate change and environmental issues.

Introduction to Biorefinery

A biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, and value-added chemicals from biomass. Biorefinery is analogous to today’s petroleum refinery, which produces multiple fuels and products from petroleum. By producing several products, a biorefinery takes advantage of the various components in biomass and their intermediates, therefore maximizing the value derived from the biomass feedstock.

A biorefinery could, for example, produce one or several low-volume, but high-value, chemical products and a low-value, but high-volume liquid transportation fuel such as biodiesel or bioethanol. At the same time, it can generate electricity and process heat, through CHP technology, for its own use and perhaps enough for sale of electricity to the local utility. The high value products increase profitability, the high-volume fuel helps meet energy needs, and the power production helps to lower energy costs and reduce GHG emissions from traditional power plant facilities.

Working of a Biorefinery

There are several platforms which can be used in a biorefinery with the major ones being the sugar platform and the thermochemical platform (also known as syngas platform).

Sugar platform biorefineries breaks down biomass into different types of component sugars for fermentation or other biological processing into various fuels and chemicals. On the other hand, thermochemical biorefineries transform biomass into synthesis gas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) or pyrolysis oil.

The thermochemical biomass conversion process is complex, and uses components, configurations, and operating conditions that are more typical of petroleum refining. Biomass is converted into syngas, and syngas is converted into an ethanol-rich mixture. However, syngas created from biomass contains contaminants such as tar and sulphur that interfere with the conversion of the syngas into products. These contaminants can be removed by tar-reforming catalysts and catalytic reforming processes. This not only cleans the syngas, it also creates more of it, improving process economics and ultimately cutting the cost of the resulting ethanol.

Biorefineries would help utilize the optimum potential of wastes and help solve the problems of waste management and greenhouse gas emissions. Each of these three components could be converted, through enzymatic/chemical treatments into either hydrogen or liquid fuels. The pre-treatment processes involved with these, generate products like paper-pulp, HFCS, solvents, acetate, resins, laminates, adhesives, flavour chemicals, activated carbon, fuel enhancers, undigested sugars etc. which generally remain untapped in the traditional processes.

Prospects in MENA

The MENA region has significant biomass energy potential in the form of municipal wastes, crop residues, industrial wastes etc. Around the region, pollution of air, water and soil from different waste streams continues to grow. The major biomass producing countries in MENA are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Traditionally, biomass energy has been widely used in rural areas for domestic purposes in the MENA region, especially in Egypt, Yemen and Jordan. The escalating prices of oil and natural gas, the resulting concern over energy-security, have led the MENA nations to explore alternative sources of energy.  Biorefinery offers a plausible solution for augmenting energy supply, obtaining clean energy and production of a wide range of chemicals from a host of waste material, apart from associated waste management benefits.

Renewable Energy in Palestine

High population growth, increasing living standards and rapid industrial growth has led to tremendous energy demand in the Palestinian Territories in recent years. The energy situation in Palestine is highly different compared to other countries in the Middle East due to non-availability of natural resource, financial crunch and unstable political condition.

Palestine is heavily dependent on Israel for meeting its energy requirements. Almost all petroleum products are imported through Israeli companies.  Israel controls energy imports into Palestine and thus prevents open trade in electricity and petroleum products between Palestine and other countries.

Current Scenario

Energy is increasingly becoming unaffordable for people living in Palestinian areas due to rampant poverty and widespread unemployment. Ironically, fuel and energy costs for Palestinians are one of the highest in the region. The Palestinian power sector is entirely dependent on imported power supply, 88% from the Israel and 3% from Jordan and Egypt. 

Egypt supplies merely 17MW of electrical power to the Gaza Strip while 20MW is supplied to Jericho by Jordan’s state-utility firm. Exploitation of renewable energy resources is required at a mass-level so as to ensure a cheap and sustainable source of energy to the Palestinians. The major renewable energy resources in Palestine are solar, geothermal and biomass. The Palestinian Energy Authority is currently in the process of launching the bid for solar and wind energy resource mapping and geospatial analysis. At the end of 2012, renewable energy contributed merely 1.4% in the energy mix, though Palestine is targetting 10% clean energy installed capacity by the year 2020.

There is high potential for solar energy in the Palestine, with a daily average solar radiation of 5.4 kWh/m2 which should encourage its use for mass applications like cooking, industrial and domestic heating, water pumping, rural electrification, desalination etc. Although geothermal energy potential in Palestine has not been quantified yet, there has great deal of interest in geothermal energy due to the path-breaking efforts of Ramallah-based MENA Geothermal. Being an agricultural society, Palestine has appreciable amount of animal manure, crop wastes and solid wastes which can be utilized for generation of biomass energy. 

Solar Energy

Solar energy can be a major contributor to the future Palestinian energy supply, with its high potential in the area. Palestine receives about 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and has an average solar radiation of 5.4 kWh/m. Domestic solar water heating (SWH) is widely used in Palestine where almost 70% of houses and apartments have such systems. Infact, Palestine is one of the leading countries in the field of SWH for domestic purpose. SWH is made locally in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with a production rate of about 24,000 units per year which is considered to be sufficient for the Palestinian market. Solar thermal and photovoltaic systems are yet to take off in Palestinian areas due to high costs associated with such systems.

Geothermal Energy

The heating and cooling requirements of Palestinians can be met by judicious exploitation of geothermal energy, as shown as Ramallah-based MENA Geothermal.  The company, founded by Palestinian entrepreneur Khaled Al Sabawi has put Palestine of global geothermal map by devising a simple but ingenious geothermal heating and cooling system. The company, founded in 2008, has made swift progress and has been instrumental in developing a wide range of commercial and residential projects in Palestine and Jordan. In summer, the temperature below the earth’s surface is lower than atmospheric temperatures, and in winter it is higher. MENA Geothermal capitalizes on this by burying pipes below ground. Water pumped through these pipes then capture the temperature to feed the building’s heating and cooling system.

A geothermal system utilizes the energy from the sun, which is stored in the earth, to heat and cool homes and buildings. Typically, electric power is used only to operate the unit’s fan, compressor and pump. The geothermal system essentially uses the stable temperature of the ground at a specific depth for heating in winter and cooling in summer, providing clean energy and reducing energy costs.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is predominantly used for heating purposes and constitutes approximately 15% of Palestinian energy supply. Being an agrarian economy, Palestine has a strong potential for biomass energy. There is good potential for biogas generation from animal manure, poultry litter and crop wastes. In addition, organic fraction of municipal solid wastes is also represents a good biomass resource in Palestine. The Gaza Strip alone produces more than 1300 tons of solid wastes.

Conclusion

Palestine can reduce reliance on imported energy carriers by deployment of clean energy systems, especially solar, geothermal and biomass. Palestinian areas has large alternative energy potential which can be harnessed by a futuristic energy policy, large-scale investments and strategic assistance from neighbouring countries like Jordan and Egypt.  Renewable energy can lay a strong foundation for an independent Palestinian state, generate employment opportunities, alleviate poverty and provide a visionary approach to the dreams of Palestinian youths.