Solar power to be main energy source by 2017

Updated 04 July 2013
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Solar power to be main energy source by 2017

Gulf countries are increasingly turning their focus toward clean renewable sources of energy for their power generation, with solar energy set to emerge as one of the region’s main sources of energy by 2017. Already solar power installation projects worth approximately $ 155 billion are in the pipeline with capabilities to generate more than 84 GW of power.
The Gulf countries will be addressing some of the main challenges related to the deployment of energy projects in desert terrain at a high-level industry summit in Dubai later this year.
The summit, called GulfSol 2013, will make its debut at Dubai International Exhibition Center from Sept. 3-5, and will feature government and private sector companies discussing ways of effective deployment of solar projects while also showcasing some of the latest international technologies.
Top agenda at the summit includes discussions on feasibility of solar power projects in remote areas, the wide range of unrealized opportunities in the region for international companies and enforceable regulatory and policy frameworks for implementation of solar projects.
The event is expected to be attended by more than 5,000 participants from the region and around the world and will be accompanied by interactive workshops by industry leaders.
The event assumes added significance given that Abu Dhabi has set a goal of generating 7 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, has announced that it will invest up to AED 6 billion in alternative energy schemes alongside the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB).
“It is apparent that while the solar industry in other areas is struggling, right across MENA, the opportunities are there for companies to get themselves involved with a wealth of opportunities that are presenting themselves. Right now, nothing is hotter for solar than the Middle East,” said Derek Burston, exhibition manager of GulfSol 2013.
“To meet the goals that the GCC have set themselves means expertise will be needed from the international solar power industry to deal with the difficulties involved in construction in desert terrain, including dust, high winds and transmission requirements,” he added.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, is even more ambitious.
The Saudi government hopes to just about double its installed electricity capacity by building 54 GW of renewable energy (as well as 17.6 GW of nuclear power) by 2032, of which 41 GW will obtained from the sun.
Qatar is also turning to renewables, with a plan on the table to get 10 percent of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar energy by 2018.
Kuwait too has ambitions to derive 10 percent of its power requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020.


World Bank shareholders approve $13 billion capital increase

Updated 22 April 2018
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World Bank shareholders approve $13 billion capital increase

  • Capital increase follows three years of negotiations
  • Increase of $7.5 billion for main institution and $5.5 billion for IFC

World Bank shareholders approved a “historic” increase in the bank’s lending capacity late on Saturday after the United States backed a reform package that curbs loans and charges more for higher income countries like China.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said neither China nor any middle income countries was happy about the prospect of paying more for loans, but they agreed because of the overall increase in funds available.
The agreement, which also increase shares and voting power to large emerging market countries like China, was “a tremendous vote of confidence” in the institution that came after three years of tough negotiations, Kim said.
“World Bank Group bureaucrats don’t often jump around and high-five and hug each other,” Kim told a small group of reporters following the Spring meeting.
He said the increase was needed because even with the end of the global financial crisis, the bank has been called on to provide funding to address a new series of challenges facing poor countries, like climate change, refugees, pandemics, “all new things for us.”
The increase provides an additional $13 billion in “paid in” capital: $7.5 billion to the main institution and $5.5 billion to the bank’s private financing arm, the International Finance Corporation.
Kim said the increase will allow the bank to ramp up lending to an average of $100 billion a year through 2030, from $60 billion in 2017 and an expected $80 billion in 2018.
Countries will have five years to provide the funds, but can ask for a three-year extension. The last increase occurred in 2010 and added $5 billion to the bank’s capital and $200 million for the IFC.
The United States, the institution’s biggest shareholder, rejected the World Bank request in October and the administration of US President Donald Trump has argued that multilateral lending institutions should graduate countries that have grown enough to finance their own development, like China.
But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday said Washington supports the increase because of the reforms to lending rules.
“I look at this as a package transaction... we support a capital increase on the World Bank, along with the associated reforms that they’re talking about making,” Mnuchin told reporters.
The increase requires legislative approval, but Mnuchin said he was hopeful Congress would back the plan. Kim also said he has had contact with representatives from both parties and received strong support.
In a statement to the World Bank’s governing committee, Mnuchin applauded the plan to “significantly shift lending to poorer clients.”
While he did not mention China by name, Mnuchin applauded the shift to a “new income-based lending allocation target and the re-introduction of differentiated pricing” for loans — meaning wealthier countries would pay higher interest rates.
“The latter will incentivize better-off, more creditworthy borrowers to seek market financing to meet their needs for development,” he said.
Mnuchin said the new arrangement, including for the IFC, “frees resources for countries that don’t have sustainable access to private capital markets.”P
China’s Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said Beijing supported increasing World Bank resources but had reservations about the agreement for changes in lending policies.
“We are concerned about some of the policy commitments in the capital package, such as those on graduation, maturity premium increase for loans and differentiated loan pricing based on national income per capita,” he said in a statement.
“We hope that the management take different national circumstances into full account in the implementation of the graduation policies... to ensure that these policies will not impede cooperation between the (bank) and upper middle income countries.”
Kim acknowledged that lending to China would decline, but only gradually. That means “whatever borrowing they do has to be as impactful as possible.”
And he noted that because of the capital increase, “we will be able to maintain volumes for middle income countries as a whole.”
Zhu said the capital increase is “a concrete measure to support multilateralism” at a time when “anti-globalization sentiments, unilateralism, protectionism in trade” were creating uncertainties in the global economy.