Year in review 2014: Renewables set the trend



The trendiest term in the energy realm could be diversification, and a major player in diversifying the global energy mix is the renewables sector.

Look at it this way: internet searches for “energy diversification” spiked in December 2011, according to Google Trends. The analytical tool calculates how often a particular search item is entered relative to the total search volume across various global regions and languages.

Investment in the sector reached a record US$317.9 billion in 2011, but the following two years saw declines. Global renewable energy investments dropped in 2012 to $286.2bn and last year declined further at $254bn.

Move ahead to mid-2013, and “energy diversification” was once again a rising search term. But was that popular interest a precursor to a renewed investment climate?

It’s a little too early to tell.

Although this year’s figures have not been released, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last month that renewable energy technologies were gaining ground at a rapid pace. This is, in part, helped by falling costs and subsidies which were estimated at $120bn last year.

One example comes from Germany as it began cutting renewable energy subsidies that had been in place since 1991 and grown to cost the government €24bn a year, according to Germany’s ministry of economy.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, began making strides to increase the country’s renewable energy power generation from about 27 per cent to 80 per cent by 2050.

The IEA's World Energy Outlook 2014 said that renewables, in addition to nuclear energy, would hold an equal place in the world energy supply by 2040 with oil, natural gas and coal.

However, sentiment is shifting somewhat. In a World Bank paper, “The Impact of Lower Oil Prices on Renewable Energy”, the 45 per cent slide in crude this year is expected to hurt the economic viability of renewable energy technologies for large-scale projects.

Small-scale and rural applications are less likely to be affected, according to the report.

Solar and wind could be major players next year, according to the global energy consultancy GlobalData. Of the global renewable energy mix, onshore wind is expected to make up 40 per cent and solar photovoltaic (PV) is expected to grow from 20 per cent to more than 30 per cent by 2025.

Naturally solar energy would be expected to play an even larger role in the Mena region. The World Bank estimates that the region receives between 22 and 26 per cent of all solar energy hitting the earth. This is equivalent to a potential for solar energy per square kilometre annually to the energy produced from 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil.

GlobalData projects that over the next two decades, $40-60 million of solar investment could funnel into the Mena region. A vital component to a renewable energy surge is governmental policy. Solar energy in the UAE makes up less than 1 per cent of the country’s total installed power generation, but the government has increased solar initiatives considerably since 2000. The country plans to diversify its energy mix by incorporating clean energy projects that will total 24 per cent by 2020.

The Solar GCC Alliance said UAE facilities accounted for more than half of the solar power capacity in the GCC and Levant. While the country failed to add any additional renewable energy capacityto the grid this year, it did make international waves in the industry. The biggest news came from the tender of the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park.

The Riyadh-based Acwa Power bid an unprecedented and unsubsidised 5.98 US cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the 100 megawatt (MW) phase with the second lowest bid coming in at 6.13 cents. Previously, the lowest bids seen in solar power were found in Brazil and India at 8 and 9 cents per kWh.

Moritz Borgmann, a partner at the Berlin-based consultancy Apricum, said that this was a major turning point for not only the UAE but the region. “This tender was a welcome opportunity for the international PV developer community and many aspiring local players, starved by years of unfulfilled hopes for large-scale projects in the Gulf region,” he said.

The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said that the low bids signalled the cost competitiveness of renewables.

“While the low tender does not necessarily indicate a global breakthrough, a project that is tendered at under 6 cents per kWh is a clear signal that the downward renewable energy price trends we are witnessing in other parts of the world are now coming to the UAE,” said Dolf Gielen, the Irena director of innovation and technology.

Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s project manager for alternative energy, said that the UAE government needed to drive technology so local manufacturers could play a larger role in the country’s renewable energy sector.

“The Gulf has turned interested into renewable energy and started rolling out five and 10 year plans,” the analyst said.

“Governments, in order to give the best possible push to renewable energy, are also asking many companies to bring manufacturing facilities.”

GlobalData said that 3-4 gigawatts of solar will be installed in the Mena region by next year. What underpins this expectation is the likelihood of a coming boom in solar manufacturing in the region.

“We see the solar supply chain to be the most dynamic,” said Mr Mathur.

What could be the biggest news on the UAE horizon is the possibility of a renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT), or a financial mechanism to help jump-start renewable energy.

Under a FiT, long-term agreements are made based on how much it would cost to produce renewable energy and feed it into the national grid. This makes investing more attractive as producers are shielded from some of the risks in renewable energy production as well as offering a cost-comparative scenario to that of conventional power generation such as natural gas or coal.

A FiT would provide a financial incentive to get renewable energy off the ground.

“Once all these policies are in place, local manufacturers will play a significant role,” Mr Mathur said. The short-term outlook for the UAE, according to GlobalData, could put 100MW of renewable energy come online next year. Mr Mathur sees that breaking down as 70 per cent solar and 30 per cent wind power.

About 90MW to 100MW of solar capacity could be added to the UAE’s grid by 2017, but GlobalData does not foresee any additional wind projects coming online between 2015 and 2017.

GlobalData said that in order for there to be renewable energy connectivity to the grid, the infrastructure needed to be built, which required government legislation.

“Renewable energy targets set by the UAE can only be achieved by implementing government policies,” Mr Mathur said.

lgraves@thenational.ae

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COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Carzaty, now Kavak
Based: Dubai
Launch year: Carzaty launched in 2018, Kavak in the GCC launched in 2022
Number of employees: 140
Sector: Automotive
Funding: Carzaty raised $6m in equity and $4m in debt; Kavak plans $130m investment in the GCC

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

No more lice

Defining head lice

Pediculus humanus capitis are tiny wingless insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. The adult head louse is up to 3mm long, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white in colour. The female lives up to four weeks and, once mature, can lay up to 10 eggs per day. These tiny nits firmly attach to the base of the hair shaft, get incubated by body heat and hatch in eight days or so.

Identifying lice

Lice can be identified by itching or a tickling sensation of something moving within the hair. One can confirm that a person has lice by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs or lice. Head lice are most frequently located behind the ears and near the neckline.

Treating lice at home

Head lice must be treated as soon as they are spotted. Start by checking everyone in the family for them, then follow these steps. Remove and wash all clothing and bedding with hot water. Apply medicine according to the label instructions. If some live lice are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine-toothed comb.
After the initial treatment, check for, comb and remove nits and lice from hair every two to three days. Soak combs and brushes in hot water for 10 minutes.Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.

Courtesy Dr Vishal Rajmal Mehta, specialist paediatrics, RAK Hospital

Frida

Director: Carla Gutierrez

Starring: Frida Kahlo

Rating: 4/5

FIXTURES

Thu Mar 15 – West Indies v Afghanistan, UAE v Scotland
Fri Mar 16 – Ireland v Zimbabwe
Sun Mar 18 – Ireland v Scotland
Mon Mar 19 – West Indies v Zimbabwe
Tue Mar 20 – UAE v Afghanistan
Wed Mar 21 – West Indies v Scotland
Thu Mar 22 – UAE v Zimbabwe
Fri Mar 23 – Ireland v Afghanistan

The top two teams qualify for the World Cup

Classification matches
The top-placed side out of Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong or Nepal will be granted one-day international status. UAE and Scotland have already won ODI status, having qualified for the Super Six.

Thu Mar 15 – Netherlands v Hong Kong, PNG v Nepal
Sat Mar 17 – 7th-8th place playoff, 9th-10th place playoff

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Coming soon

Torno Subito by Massimo Bottura

When the W Dubai – The Palm hotel opens at the end of this year, one of the highlights will be Massimo Bottura’s new restaurant, Torno Subito, which promises “to take guests on a journey back to 1960s Italy”. It is the three Michelinstarred chef’s first venture in Dubai and should be every bit as ambitious as you would expect from the man whose restaurant in Italy, Osteria Francescana, was crowned number one in this year’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Akira Back Dubai

Another exciting opening at the W Dubai – The Palm hotel is South Korean chef Akira Back’s new restaurant, which will continue to showcase some of the finest Asian food in the world. Back, whose Seoul restaurant, Dosa, won a Michelin star last year, describes his menu as,  “an innovative Japanese cuisine prepared with a Korean accent”.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The highly experimental chef, whose dishes are as much about spectacle as taste, opens his first restaurant in Dubai next year. Housed at The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will feature contemporary twists on recipes that date back to the 1300s, including goats’ milk cheesecake. Always remember with a Blumenthal dish: nothing is quite as it seems. 

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


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