Saudi Water & Power Forum focuses on industry challenges

Updated 12 January 2015

Saudi Water & Power Forum focuses on industry challenges

Riyadh Governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, accompanied by Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen, opened the 10th Saudi Water and Power Forum (SWPF 2015) here on Monday night.
The forum is being organized by the CWC Group, a technology oriented, engineering, operation and maintenance company, in partnership with Moya Bushnak and Acwa power.
The minister was joined in the inaugural ceremony by Adil Bushnak, chairman of Moya Bushnak and director and past president, IDA, and Jean-Lou Chameau, president of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), for opening keynote addresses.
The opening session included an awards ceremony. This ceremony brings together the Saudi water and power industry to celebrate excellence and outstanding achievements.
The award ceremony was followed by an exhibition to showcase 10 years journey of the forum and achievements and vision for sustainable development.
The theme for this year’s three-day annual forum and exhibition is, “Achieving sustainable development through innovation.”
The forum, attracting the water and power stakeholders from various countries, assumes greater significance this year due to its 10th year anniversary edition in Riyadh.
The technical session of the forum will begin on Tuesday with brainstorming meetings focusing on “Ten-year anniversary: success, priorities and 10 years strategies for water and power sectors in the Kingdom.”
Key speakers include Saleh Alawaji, deputy minister for electricity and chairman of the board of directors, Saudi Electricity company, Abdullah Al-Shehri, governor, electricity and co-generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA), Abdulrahman Al-Ibrahim governor, Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), Loya bin Ahmad Al-Musallam,CEO of the National Water Company (NWC) and Maher Al-Odan, head of research, development and innovation, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE).
Key government stakeholders will take part in technical sessions.
Among key speakers presenting the private perspective at these sessions include David Hobbs, research head at King Abdullah petroleum studies and research center and Mohammed Mohaisen, CEO of GE power generation products and services for MENA region.
Moreover, there will be a session on renewable energy with brainstorming on advances in renewable desalination, strategies to create green utilities by adding more value and showcasing the route to boost generating capacity, saving energy and maximizing efficiency to capture full energy value.
Besides technical sessions, the key attraction will be networking functions and an expanded exhibition space. The US, China, Germany, Japan and the UK have set up international pavilions.
Notably, it is the premier water and power forum in the Kingdom, which plays key role in establishing connections between various stakeholders and partners with substantial agenda for sustainable growth.
Significantly, water scarcity is a stark reality as freshwater makes up a very small fraction of the available water in the Kingdom and the sustainable availability of potable water is a major concern in the region mostly surrounded by sea full of saline water.
The government is working at various levels with ambitious plans to upgrade, expand and transform the power and water sector. It supports the development of desalination technologies for water.


Squabbles erupt as G7 leaders open summit in French resort

Updated 13 min 57 sec ago

Squabbles erupt as G7 leaders open summit in French resort

  • Disputes on trade, climate may eclipse Macron’s agenda
  • EU’s Tusk warns of lack of global unity, spars with Johnson

BIARRITZ, France: Squabbles erupted among G7 nations on Saturday as their leaders gathered for an annual summit, exposing sharp differences on global trade tensions, Britain’s exit from the EU and how to respond to the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host, planned the three-day meeting in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz as a chance to unite a group of wealthy countries that has struggled in recent years to speak with one voice.
Macron set an agenda for the group — France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — that included the defense of democracy, gender equality, education and the environment. He invited Asian, African and Latin American leaders to join them for a global push on these issues.
However, in a bleak assessment of relations between once-close allies, European Council President Donald Tusk said it was getting “increasingly” hard to find common ground.
“This is another G7 summit which will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders,” he told reporters ahead of the meeting. “This may be the last moment to restore our political community.”
US President Donald Trump had brought last year’s G7 summit to an acrimonious end, walking out early from the gathering in Canada and rejecting the final communique.
Trump arrived in France a day after responding to a new round of Chinese tariffs by announcing that Washington would impose an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion worth of Chinese imports, the latest escalation of the tit-for-tat trade war by the world’s two largest economies.
“So far so good,” Trump told reporters as he sat on a seafront terrace with Macron, saying the two leaders had a special relationship. “We’ll accomplish a lot this weekend.”
Macron listed foreign policy issues the two would address, including Libya, Syria and North Korea, and said they shared the objective of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Trump later wrote on Twitter that lunch with Macron was the best meeting the pair has yet had, and that a meeting with world leaders on Saturday evening also “went very well.”
However, the initial smiles could not disguise the opposing approaches of Trump and Macron to many problems, including the knotty questions of protectionism and tax.
Before his arrival, Trump repeated a threat to tax French wines in retaliation for a new French levy on digital services, which he says unfairly targets US companies.
Two US officials said the Trump delegation was also irked that Macron had skewed the focus of the G7 meeting to “niche issues” at the expense of the global economy, which many leaders worry is slowing sharply and at risk of slipping into recession.
French riot police used water cannons and tear gas on Saturday to disperse anti-capitalism protesters in Bayonne, near Biarritz. A police helicopter circled as protesters taunted lines of police.
The leaders themselves were gathering behind tight security in a waterfront conference venue, the surrounding streets barricaded by police.

Spat over ‘Mr. No Deal’ Brexit
Macron opened the summit with a dinner at the base of a clifftop lighthouse overlooking Biarritz, where a menu of piperade, a Basque vegetable specialty, tuna and French cheeses awaited the leaders.
Adding to the unpredictable dynamic between the G7 leaders are the new realities facing Brexit-bound Britain: dwindling influence in Europe and growing dependency on the United States.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson will want to strike a balance between not alienating Britain’s European allies and not irritating Trump and possibly jeopardizing future trade ties. Johnson and Trump will hold bilateral talks on Sunday morning.
Johnson and Tusk sparred before the summit over who would be to blame if Britain leaves the EU on Oct. 31 without a withdrawal agreement.
Tusk told reporters he was open to ideas from Johnson on how to avoid a no-deal Brexit when the two men meet.
“I still hope that PM Johnson will not like to go down in history as Mr.No Deal,” said Tusk, who as council president leads the political direction of the 28-nation European Union.
Johnson, who has said since he took office last month that he will take Britain out of the bloc on Oct. 31 regardless of whether a deal can be reached, later retorted that it would be Tusk himself who would carry the mantle if Britain could not secure a new withdrawal agreement.
“I would say to our friends in the EU if they don’t want a no-deal Brexit then we’ve got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty,” Johnson told reporters, referring to the Irish border protocol that would keep the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland open after Brexit.
“If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as Mr.No Deal then I hope that point will be borne in mind by him, too,” Johnson said on his flight to France.
Johnson is trying to persuade EU leaders to drop the backstop from a withdrawal agreement that was negotiated by his predecessor but rejected three times by the British Parliament as the United Kingdom struggles to fulfill a 2016 referendum vote to leave the bloc.

‘Not the way to proceed’
Despite the Brexit tensions, diplomats played down the likelihood of Trump and Johnson joining hands against the rest, citing Britain’s foreign policy alignment with Europe on issues from Iran and trade to climate change.
“There won’t be a G5+2,” one senior G7 diplomat said.
Indeed, Johnson said he would tell Trump to pull back from a trade war that is already destabilising economic growth around the world.
“This is not the way to proceed,” he said. “Apart from everything else, those who support the tariffs are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy, irrespective of whether or not that is true.”
Anti-summit protests have become common, and on Saturday thousands of anti-globalization activists, Basque separatists and “yellow vest” protesters marched peacefully across France’s border with Spain to demand action from the leaders.
“It’s more money for the rich and nothing for the poor,” said Alain Missana, an electrician wearing a yellow vest — symbol of anti-government protests that have rattled France for months.
EU leaders piled pressure on Friday on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
Even so, Britain and Germany were at odds with Macron’s decision to pressure Brazil by blocking a trade deal between the EU and the Mercosur group of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said not concluding the trade deal was “not the appropriate answer to what is happening in Brazil now.”
The UK’s Johnson appeared to disagree with Macron on how to respond. “There are all sorts of people who will take any excuse at all to interfere with trade and to frustrate trade deals and I don’t want to see that,” he said.