Masdar chief urges Saudi Arabia to tap wind energy

Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Masdar chief urges Saudi Arabia to tap wind energy

DUBAI: Wind power represents a huge untapped source of energy for Saudi Arabia, according to the CEO of Masdar.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast enjoys attractive wind resources similar to parts of Jordan where the Abu Dhabi-based company has also helped to develop wind power, said Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum event in Dubai.
But the renewable energy source may be more challenging to develop in Masdar’s UAE home, where it has also been assessing its potential.
“In the UAE, it is not feasible,” he said. “We do have certain pockets of wind corridors where we could use new technology – for example now you have slow wind turbines for slow wind speeds –that could potentially be OK for these regions – but still the pricing is not right.’
Saudi Arabia offers considerably more potential for the development of wind energy.
“In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wind will play a very important role. It is blessed with a lot of resources – not only solar,’ he said.
Masdar is the region’s largest exporter of renewable energy – operating utility-scale projects as well and a player in everything from off-grid power generation in Africa to autonomous vehicles.
Al-Ramahi said that Masdar was actively targeting projects in the Kingdom, which has started to invest heavily in renewable energy as part of a broader economic reform plan aimed at reducing its reliance on oil.
The Kingdom wants to develop about 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023 – with solar power accounting for the lion’s share.
Masdar has invested about 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion) in projects worldwide.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.