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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 March 2021

From waterwheels to wind farms: Syrian energy renewal

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Syria has a long history of renewable energy development. It started in the 5th century, with giant wooden water wheels used for irrigation.

Now the Syrian private investment group CHAM Holding and the Danish wind energy company Vestas have joined forces to develop Syria's first wind farm.

The development covering two sites south of Damascus would have generating capacity of 50 to 100 megawatts, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.

SANA also reported today that  Syria was planning investment in both solar and wind energy to help meet increasing power demand in the country due to population growth and industrial and agricultural expansion.

As in ancient times, energy demand from the agricultural sector is mostly for irrigation.

Wind development could represent a more attainable way for the Syria government to meet its  renewable energy objectives, however, than its previous focus on solar energy, which is more expensive.

"Syria has a considerable wind energy potential in a variety of locations," noted Mahmoud al Khosman, the Marafeq chief executive.

Marafeq, a unit of CHAM, would develop the initial wind project, Vestas would provide technology, and Kuwaiti contractor  Al Kharafi would be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction, SANA said. 

The development would mark CHAM's debut in renewable energy investment. The group is currently involved in a thermal power project in Syria. It has previously undertaken "specialised" projects in the country's oil and gas producing sector, according to i nformation on its web site.

Syria was also assessing the feasibility of producing biodiesel from used cooking oil, SANA said today in remarks attributed to Wael Khansa, the head of the country's Higher Institute for Applied Sciences and Technology.

In another development reported by the news agency, the institute was developing a regional sunlight map in co-operation with Armenia, with a view to investing in solar-powered water-heating and cooling projects.

These may be baby steps towards exploiting Syria's renewable energy potential, but at least they are realistic for an underdeveloped Middle Eastern country without the huge investment resources of the Arab Gulf oil-producing states. It is encouraging that private-sector investors are getting involved at such an early stage.

Last week, SANA said Syria was planning to invest in solar-equipment manufacturing.

Pic courtesty of SANA

Published: May 3, 2010 04:00 AM

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