CSP-Powered Desalination: Prospects in MENA

Conventional large-scale desalination is cost-prohibitive and energy-intensive, and not viable for poor countries in the MENA region due to increasing costs of fossil fuels. In addition, the environmental impacts of desalination are considered critical on account of GHG emissions from energy consumption and discharge of brine into the sea. The negative effects of desalination can be minimized, to some extent, by using renewable energy to power the plants. What is Concentrated Solar Power The core element of Concentrated Solar Power Plant is a field of large mirrors reflecting captured rays of sun to a small receiver element, thus concentrating the … Continue reading

Rationale for Solar Energy in MENA

The world is rife with news snippets concerning the development of solar power. The sun provides an infinite source of energy that takes off the burden on the renewable sources for power generation. In doing so, there are increased chances of conserving the limited energy reserves. Already about 50% of the earth’s natural resources are in use. If this usage rate continues, we will run out of finite sources in no time. For instance, there is only enough oil left for the coming 46.2 years. Luckily, the development of solar energy serves as the light at the end of the tunnel. … Continue reading

Agricultural Scenario in MENA

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt.  Large scale irrigation is expanding, enabling intensive production of high value cash and export crops, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, and sugar. Egypt Egypt is the 14th biggest rice producer in the world and the 8th biggest cotton producer in the world. Egypt produced about 5.67 million tons of rice and 635,000 tons … Continue reading

Environmental Awareness in Arab Countries: A Survey

A public opinion survey carried out by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development in 22 Arab countries revealed that a vast majority, exceeding 60 percent, believes that the environment has deteriorated in their countries over the last 10 years. An even bigger majority of 95 percent thinks that their country is not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges. The questionnaire, circulated via internet in cooperation with Arab media outlets and conducted on a self-completion basis, attracted 20,460 responses from across the Arab region. Respondents who thought that the environmental situation has worsened comprised 60 percent, reflecting findings of a … Continue reading

Waste Management in Morocco

Solid waste management is one of the major environmental problems threatening the Mediterranean Kingdom of Morocco. More than 5 million tons of solid waste is generated across the country with annual waste generation growth rate touching 3 percent. The proper disposal of municipal solid waste in Morocco is exemplified by major deficiencies such as lack of proper infrastructure and suitable funding in areas outside of major cities. According to the World Bank, it was reported that before a recent reform in 2008 “only 70 percent of urban MSW was collected and less than 10 percent of collected waste was being … Continue reading

Desertec: What Went Wrong?

A plan to power Europe from solar power plants in Sahara desert, popularly known as Desertec, seems to have stalled, but several large North African solar projects are still going ahead despite local concerns. Where did the Desertec project go wrong, and can desert solar power yet play a role in a democratic and sustainable future? If you use social media, you may well have seen a graphic going around, showing a tiny square in the Sahara desert with the caption: ‘This much solar power in the Sahara would provide enough energy for the whole world!’ Can this really be true? It is … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Solar Energy in Morocco

Morocco, being the largest energy importer in North Africa, is making concerted efforts to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels. Renewable energy is an attractive proposition as Morocco has almost complete dependence on imported energy carriers. Morocco is already spending over USD 3billion a year on fuel and electricity imports and is experiencing power demand growth of 6.5 per cent a year. The National Energy and Energy Efficiency Plan was launched in 2008 which aims to develop renewable energy to meet 15 percent of the country’s energy demand and to increase the use of energy-saving methods.  According to the Moroccan Ministry … Continue reading

Environmental Impact of Olive Oil Processing Wastes

More commonly known for its popular culinary and medicinal benefits, olive cultivation, olive oil production and oil packaging are a part of the local heritage and rural economy throughout the North African and Mediterranean regions. In 2012, an estimated 2,903,676 tons of olive oil was produced worldwide, the largest olive oil producers being Spain, Italy, and Greece followed by Turkey and Tunisia and to a lesser extent Portugal, Morocco and Algeria. Within the European Union’s olive sector alone, there are roughly 2.5 million producers, who make up roughly one-third of all EU farmers. The olive oil industry offers valuable opportunities to … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health: Perspectives for Arab World

Climate change is not only affecting the economies of Arab world but also having detrimental impacts on the very fabric of society, through threats to public health and livelihoods. Climate change in the Arab world is also exacerbating social inequalities, hitting the rural poor the hardest. This is not a reason for complacency amongst the wealthy urban classes. Basic humanitarianism aside, history suggests that physical hardships can breed wider unrest: a body of evidence suggests that poor harvests caused by a major Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 1783 triggered no less an event that the French Revolution. Extreme weather events … Continue reading

Masdar’s Partnership with GDF Suez for Morocco CSP Project

Masdar and GDF Suez are working in a consortium as one of the pre-qualified bidders for the 200MW Noor II and 100MW Noor III CSP projects in Morocco. The winning bidders are expected to be announced in September this year and in a recent interview with CSP Today, Yago Mancebo, Investment Manager at Masdar, spoke about Masdar’s first experience in the bidding process for a CSP project and their reasons for partnering with GDF Suez. Masdar has a strong portfolio of CSP projects behind them (Gemasolar and Shams 1), whilst their partner GDF Suez are one of the biggest independent … Continue reading