Saudi Arabia aims to be world’s largest renewable energy market

Updated 23 July 2013
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Saudi Arabia aims to be world’s largest renewable energy market

Saudi Arabia aims to become the world’s foremost market for renewable energy with an aggressive investment budget of $109 billion. By 2032, the country strives to generate as much as a third of the Kingdom’s energy demands using renewable energy (54 GW).
Following the publicity surrounding the country’s major investment drive, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) released a series of documents detailing the revised National Energy Plan. In addition to the 41 GW of solar power, 25 GW of CSP and 16 GW of PV, the Kingdom is aiming to generate 18 GW of nuclear energy, 3 GW of waste to energy, 1 GW of geothermal and an additional 9 GW of wind power, specifically for water desalination plants.
Impressive and noble though the country’s renewable energy goals maybe, the question remains how will the world’s largest exporter of oil, so dependent on conventional energy sources for their power demand, achieve such a transformation.
Establishing a time-line with long-term policies is at the top of the list.
According to Keisuke Sadamori, director of the energy markets and security directorate, International Energy Agency (IEA), "One of the key messages from the Medium Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2013 by the IEA is that policy uncertainty is the largest risk for renewable investment. Every country, including Saudi Arabia, should introduce long-term policies to provide a predictable and reliable framework to support renewable deployment."
Sadamori, alongside various other international and regional renewable energy experts, will be discussing the key challenges faced by Saudi Arabia and the steps toward overcoming them at the upcoming 3rd Annual Solar Arabia Summit. Taking place on Sept. 29-30 in Riyadh, the summit is hosting 35 experts who will each share their experience in the industry and discuss the latest market trends and policy development in the Kingdom.
Rasheed M. Alzahrani, CEO, Riyadh Valley Company, is also speaking at the summit to discuss joint ventures, partnerships and investments in renewable energy in the Kingdom.
He also acknowledges that "high level plans are already in place, but the major challenge in the Kingdom lies in the absence of a detailed time-line for a clear and gradual shift to renewable energy in the country and the slow adoption and advancement in renewable energy initiatives."
When asked about his company’s participation in the summit, Alzahrani said: "We intend to invest in this sector both in early and late stage opportunities that will add value to the local needs. We will use this platform to introduce RVC and its initiatives and to help foster the development of an energy ecosystem in KSA."
Alongside the summit’s conference agenda, 250 Saudi energy stakeholders are attending to have one-to-one business meetings with up to 40 international solution and service providers.
Confirmed participants include Schneider Electric, Total, Sterling and Wilson, SMA Technology and Trishe Renewables.


Trump tariff stirs uncertainty and concern in Texas steel’s industry

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago
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Trump tariff stirs uncertainty and concern in Texas steel’s industry

  • Trump says his tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods will put US companies and workers on stronger footing by winding back the clock of globalization with protectionist trade policies
  • Pipe mills are numerous in Texas, which leads the nation in oil and natural gas production

BAYTOWN, Texas: Joel Johnson is fighting an uphill battle to keep his pipe factory in this refinery suburb east of Houston from becoming a casualty in President Donald Trump’s bitter trade dispute with America’s allies and adversaries.
He’s the CEO of Borusan Mannesmann Pipe US, a company with Turkish roots that manufactures the specialized steel pipe used by energy companies to pull oil and natural gas out of the earth. Unless the Commerce Department grants its request to be exempted from Trump’s tariff on imported steel, Johnson said, Borusan would face levies of around $30 million a year — a staggering sum for a company with plans to expand.
“We don’t have any proof we’re being heard,” Johnson said.
Trump says his tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods will put US companies and workers on stronger footing by winding back the clock of globalization with protectionist trade policies. But the steel tariff — essentially a 25 percent tax — may backfire on the very people the president is aiming to help. The Commerce Department has been deluged with requests from 20,000 companies seeking exemptions.
In Bay City, Texas, 80 miles southwest of this refinery suburb outside Houston, global steel giant Tenaris churns out steel pipe in a $1.8 billion state-of-the-art facility that began operating late last year. Tenaris makes its seamless pipe from solid rods of steel called billets that are imported from its mills in Mexico, Romania, Italy and Argentina. It’s also seeking to be excluded from the steel tariff.
“The decision is out of our hands,” said Luca Zanotti, president of Tenaris’s US operations, while expressing confidence its request would be approved. If it’s not? “We’ll adapt,” he said.
Steelworkers, meanwhile, are cheering the tariff even as they remain skeptical of Trump’s pledge to empower blue-collar Americans. They also worry about the possibility of exemptions.
“You put these tariffs (in place) but now you’re going to exclude everybody so they’re kind of pointless,” said Durwin Royal, president of United Steelworkers’ Local 4134 in Lone Star, Texas.
The diverse views illustrate the complexity, confusion and concern lurking behind Trump’s “America First” pledge. The steel tariff — essentially a 25 percent tax — may backfire on the very people the president is aiming to help.
Pipe mills are numerous in Texas, which leads the nation in oil and natural gas production. Mills that use imported steel typically do so when they can’t get the exact type or quantity they need from US producers. Many of them are among the thousands of companies around the country that have filed exclusion requests with the Commerce Department to avoid being hit by the steel tariff.
Most of them are in the dark, unsure if their applications will be approved. A denial may torpedo plans to expand a factory. Or a company may have to lay off employees.
There’s no playbook to guide companies through an exemption process Johnson described as chaotic and unpredictable. He’s hired a lobbyist, former New York Gov. George Pataki, to drum up support in Washington. He’s fending off objections from competitors who want Borusan’s request denied.
On a sweltering afternoon earlier this month, Johnson assembled dozens of his employees in an air-conditioned room for what amounted to a Hail Mary pass. After lunching on sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, Borusan workers wrote personal messages on oversized postcards to be sent to Trump and other senior officials in Washington and Austin, the Texas capital, pleading for their help in securing the tariff exemption.
“I don’t know what motivates politicians besides votes,” Johnson said. “That’s why we’re doing this crazy exercise.”
Johnson said he had for weeks unsuccessfully sought support from GOP Rep. Brian Babin, whose district includes Baytown. Babin wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday, expressing his strong support for Borusan’s request and urging Ross to give it “your highest consideration.”
“Finally,” Johnson said.
Zanotti declined to say how much Tenaris would have to pay because of the tariff, but he downplayed the expense as a cost of doing business on a global scale. Tenaris operates in 16 countries.
“Of course we don’t like it,” Zanotti said of the tariff. But, he added, “we’re used to dealing with moving parts. This is another moving part.”
The company doesn’t have a registered lobbyist in Washington, let alone an office. It does have deep pockets, however. The company has spent $8 billion over the last decade to expand its foothold in America, an investment he doesn’t think the Commerce Department should overlook.
“We’re positive we’re going to get a good conclusion,” Zanotti said.
Although Royal and Trey Green, Local 4134’s vice president, were heartened by the steel tariff, they said they’re under no illusion Trump is a friend to organized labor. Nor are they convinced his tough talk on trade will lead to a rebuilt US steel industry with more and better jobs.
“I don’t know that putting tariffs on just one or two particular items are going to be the mainstay that helps us in the future,” Green said.