epa06218829 The Sun rises over Captain Cook Bridge as Sydneysiders head toward another hot weekend, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 22 September 2017. Sydney is expected to reach 33 degrees Celsius on 23 September, with some inland regions expected to reach 40 degrees.  EPA/DEAN LEWINS  AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Dubai is leading the way on harvesting energy from the sun. Dean Lewins/EPA

UAE's push on solar should open eyes across wider world



The UAE is getting used to setting solar energy records.

Dubai’s latest project, awarded last Saturday, follows this pattern. But, as a leap forward in a different type of solar power plant, it has important implications for renewable energy across the region.

A joint venture of Saudi Arabia’s Acwa, already deeply involved in solar and coal projects with Dubai's Dewa and across the region, and China’s Shanghai Electric, will build the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, as the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP), sometimes called solar thermal, plant.

What has made headlines is the world-record low price for this type of technology: 7.3 US cents per kilowatt hour of electricity generated. This equates to a total cost of Dh14.2 billion for 700 megawatts (MW) of capacity, about 7 per cent of the utility’s current capacity.

CSP is different from the three photovoltaic (PV) plants awarded so far in the Solar Park. Photovoltaic panels use light falling on a semiconductor to dislodge electrons and create a current. CSP plants concentrate the sun’s rays with mirrors to heat a fluid, which then drives a turbine in a similar way to a conventional gas-fired power station.

Masdar constructed what was then the world’s largest CSP plant, the 100MW Shams-1, near Madinat Zayed, in 2013. Other plants have been built in Spain, Italy, and the south-western US, but the technology lost favour as PV costs plunged.

At the time Shams-1 started, PV projects in the UAE may have cost around 12 US cents per kilowatt hour. More recently the 800MW third phase of Dewa’s solar park was bid at 2.99 US cents, and the 1,177MW Sweihan plant near Abu Dhabi for 2.4 cents. Even this latest CSP project for Dewa is costing about three times that.

However, interest in CSP has remained because of its ability to store energy in molten salts, and continue generating even at night. PV cannot do that except with batteries, which remain relatively expensive. Dewa’s plant is divided in two parts: a central tower, with storage for 15 hours of operations; and parabolic troughs with 11 hours of storage. Worldwide, towers are becoming more popular choices for CSP because their higher operating temperatures make them more efficient and facilitate longer storage periods.

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Read more:

BMI Research upgrades UAE's solar outlook following Dubai's CSP tender 

UAE's solar ambitions burn brightly

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid announces winning contract for world's largest CSP solar project

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Hydrocarbon-short Morocco has been the Mena region’s leader in CSP so far. Up in its Atlas mountains, it has constructed one CSP plant at Ouarzazate, with two more underway. The location is at an altitude of more than 1,150 metres, with clear skies and a river nearby to supply water.

Dubai’s site is close to sea-level, with more atmosphere to absorb the sun’s rays, as well as the Arabian Gulf’s dust and haze. The Noor-2 CSP plant at Ouarzazate, also being built by Acwa, has only 7 hours storage, half Dubai’s. Yet the low bid for Noor-2 was 15.67 cents per kilowatt hour, while Dubai has managed to halve that.

Evaluating the project properly will require more information: how much of the 15 hours’ storage is at maximum output, and what the plant’s capacity factor will be (the ratio of actual output to the output if it could run continuously through a year). It will be interesting to learn how Acwa has managed to cut costs so dramatically, and to see how well the plant performs.

The project is a major step forward, not just for Dubai but for the region. The emirate’s target of 7 per cent clean electricity by 2020 should be met when this plant starts up late that year, along with the earlier PV projects. Dewa is already looking ahead to the challenge of balancing large amounts of daytime solar generation while meeting night-time demand. If this CSP plant functions well and at the anticipated cost, it will go a long way to solving that problem.

Any Middle East country with sufficient flat, unused land – everywhere with the possible exceptions of Bahrain and Lebanon – could install large amounts of solar thermal power. Western Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have, in principle, better conditions than Dubai, but it is Dubai that has so far created the best investment proposition.

CSP at 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour is equivalent to a gas-fired power station buying gas at US$5 to $6 per million British thermal units. Spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices in August were around $5.8 per MMBtu, and are expected to rise somewhat over the next few years. This is more expensive than traditional Middle East subsidised prices. But it does indicate that a combination of solar PV and CSP is a realistic alternative to gas for electricity in this region.

All regional utilities ought to be watching closely. If they can convince themselves that Dewa’s price is realistic and replicable for their conditions, CSP should be part of their future generation plans. Countries that are moving ahead with solar power, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, can press on. Others that have made little progress, notably Saudi Arabia, should be encouraged to jump-start their efforts.

If new solar PV records were becoming passé, this latest project should open eyes across the Middle East.

Robin M Mills is CEO of Qamar Energy, and author of The Myth of the Oil Crisis

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Where to donate in the UAE

The Emirates Charity Portal

You can donate to several registered charities through a “donation catalogue”. The use of the donation is quite specific, such as buying a fan for a poor family in Niger for Dh130.

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments

The site has an e-donation service accepting debit card, credit card or e-Dirham, an electronic payment tool developed by the Ministry of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Noor Special Needs Centre

You can donate online or order Smiles n’ Stuff products handcrafted by Al Noor students. The centre publishes a wish list of extras needed, starting at Dh500.

Beit Al Khair Society

Beit Al Khair Society has the motto “From – and to – the UAE,” with donations going towards the neediest in the country. Its website has a list of physical donation sites, but people can also contribute money by SMS, bank transfer and through the hotline 800-22554.

Dar Al Ber Society

Dar Al Ber Society, which has charity projects in 39 countries, accept cash payments, money transfers or SMS donations. Its donation hotline is 800-79.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares provides several options for individuals and companies to donate, including online, through banks, at retail outlets, via phone and by purchasing Dubai Cares branded merchandise. It is currently running a campaign called Bookings 2030, which allows people to help change the future of six underprivileged children and young people.

Emirates Airline Foundation

Those who travel on Emirates have undoubtedly seen the little donation envelopes in the seat pockets. But the foundation also accepts donations online and in the form of Skywards Miles. Donated miles are used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Emirates Red Crescent

On the Emirates Red Crescent website you can choose between 35 different purposes for your donation, such as providing food for fasters, supporting debtors and contributing to a refugee women fund. It also has a list of bank accounts for each donation type.

Gulf for Good

Gulf for Good raises funds for partner charity projects through challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling through Thailand. This year’s projects are in partnership with Street Child Nepal, Larchfield Kids, the Foundation for African Empowerment and SOS Children's Villages. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than $3.5 million (Dh12.8m) in support of over 50 children’s charities.

Noor Dubai Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Noor Dubai Foundation a decade ago with the aim of eliminating all forms of preventable blindness globally. You can donate Dh50 to support mobile eye camps by texting the word “Noor” to 4565 (Etisalat) or 4849 (du).

Green ambitions
  • Trees: 1,500 to be planted, replacing 300 felled ones, with veteran oaks protected
  • Lake: Brown's centrepiece to be cleaned of silt that makes it as shallow as 2.5cm
  • Biodiversity: Bat cave to be added and habitats designed for kingfishers and little grebes
  • Flood risk: Longer grass, deeper lake, restored ponds and absorbent paths all meant to siphon off water 
Key developments

All times UTC+4

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Ammar 808:
Maghreb United

Sofyann Ben Youssef
Glitterbeat 

Emergency phone numbers in the UAE

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

SPECS

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8
Power: 625 bhp
Torque: 630Nm
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh974,011

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

Nepotism is the name of the game

Salman Khan’s father, Salim Khan, is one of Bollywood’s most legendary screenwriters. Through his partnership with co-writer Javed Akhtar, Salim is credited with having paved the path for the Indian film industry’s blockbuster format in the 1970s. Something his son now rules the roost of. More importantly, the Salim-Javed duo also created the persona of the “angry young man” for Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan in the 1970s, reflecting the angst of the average Indian. In choosing to be the ordinary man’s “hero” as opposed to a thespian in new Bollywood, Salman Khan remains tightly linked to his father’s oeuvre. Thanks dad. 

THE BIO:

Favourite holiday destination: Thailand. I go every year and I’m obsessed with the fitness camps there.

Favourite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s an amazing story about barefoot running.

Favourite film: A League of their Own. I used to love watching it in my granny’s house when I was seven.

Personal motto: Believe it and you can achieve it.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES

Tuesday (UAE kick-off times)

Leicester City v Brighton (9pm)

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United (11.15pm)

Wednesday

Manchester United v Sheffield United (9pm)

Newcastle United v Aston Villa (9pm)

Norwich City v Everton (9pm)

Wolves v Bournemouth (9pm)

Liverpool v Crystal Palace (11.15pm)

Thursday

Burnley v Watford (9pm)

Southampton v Arsenal (9pm)

Chelsea v Manchester City (11.15pm)

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999

Fight card

Preliminaries:

Nouredine Samir (UAE) v Sheroz Kholmirzav (UZB); Lucas Porst (SWE) v Ellis Barboza (GBR); Mouhmad Amine Alharar (MAR) v Mohammed Mardi (UAE); Ibrahim Bilal (UAE) v Spyro Besiri (GRE); Aslamjan Ortikov (UZB) v Joshua Ridgwell (GBR)

Main card:

Carlos Prates (BRA) v Dmitry Valent (BLR); Bobirjon Tagiev (UZB) v Valentin Thibaut (FRA); Arthur Meyer (FRA) v Hicham Moujtahid (BEL); Ines Es Salehy (BEL) v Myriame Djedidi (FRA); Craig Coakley (IRE) v Deniz Demirkapu (TUR); Artem Avanesov (ARM) v Badreddine Attif (MAR); Abdulvosid Buranov (RUS) v Akram Hamidi (FRA)

Title card:

Intercontinental Lightweight: Ilyass Habibali (UAE) v Angel Marquez (ESP)

Intercontinental Middleweight: Amine El Moatassime (UAE) v Francesco Iadanza (ITA)

Asian Featherweight: Zakaria El Jamari (UAE) v Phillip Delarmino (PHI)

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

About Proto21

Date started: May 2018
Founder: Pir Arkam
Based: Dubai
Sector: Additive manufacturing (aka, 3D printing)
Staff: 18
Funding: Invested, supported and partnered by Joseph Group

Manchester United v Club America

When: Thursday, 9pm Arizona time (Friday UAE, 8am)

Cricket World Cup League 2

UAE results
Lost to Oman by eight runs
Beat Namibia by three wickets
Lost to Oman by 12 runs
Beat Namibia by 43 runs

UAE fixtures
Free admission. All fixtures broadcast live on icc.tv

Tuesday March 15, v PNG at Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Friday March 18, v Nepal at Dubai International Stadium
Saturday March 19, v PNG at Dubai International Stadium
Monday March 21, v Nepal at Dubai International Stadium

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

England XI for second Test

Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Ben Stokes, Joe Root (c), Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes (wk), Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, James Anderson

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

Marathon results

Men:

1. Titus Ekiru(KEN) 2:06:13 

2. Alphonce Simbu(TAN) 2:07:50 

3. Reuben Kipyego(KEN) 2:08:25 

4. Abel Kirui(KEN) 2:08:46 

5. Felix Kemutai(KEN) 2:10:48  

Women:

1. Judith Korir(KEN) 2:22:30 

2. Eunice Chumba(BHR) 2:26:01 

3. Immaculate Chemutai(UGA) 2:28:30 

4. Abebech Bekele(ETH) 2:29:43 

5. Aleksandra Morozova(RUS) 2:33:01  

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

SPEC SHEET

Display: 10.9" Liquid Retina IPS, 2360 x 1640, 264ppi, wide colour, True Tone, Apple Pencil support

Chip: Apple M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 64/256GB storage; 8GB RAM

Main camera: 12MP wide, f/1.8, Smart HDR

Video: 4K @ 25/25/30/60fps, full HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps

Front camera: 12MP ultra-wide, f/2.4, Smart HDR, Centre Stage; full HD @ 25/30/60fps

Audio: Stereo speakers

Biometrics: Touch ID

I/O: USB-C, smart connector (for folio/keyboard)

Battery: Up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi; up to 9 hours on cellular

Finish: Space grey, starlight, pink, purple, blue

Price: Wi-Fi – Dh2,499 (64GB) / Dh3,099 (256GB); cellular – Dh3,099 (64GB) / Dh3,699 (256GB)

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

Opening day UAE Premiership fixtures, Friday, September 22:

  • Dubai Sports City Eagles v Dubai Exiles
  • Dubai Hurricanes v Abu Dhabi Saracens
  • Jebel Ali Dragons v Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Copa del Rey final

Sevilla v Barcelona, Saturday, 11.30pm (UAE), match on Bein Sports

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

Fast X

Director: Louis Leterrier

Stars: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Momoa, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Brie Larson, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron

Rating: 3/5

Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi
​​​​​​​Penguin Press

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

The biog

Family: wife, four children, 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren

Reads: Newspapers, historical, religious books and biographies

Education: High school in Thatta, a city now in Pakistan

Regrets: Not completing college in Karachi when universities were shut down following protests by freedom fighters for the British to quit India 

 

Happiness: Work on creative ideas, you will also need ideals to make people happy

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