Macron pledges €700 million for new solar projects

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (front R) and French President Emmanuel Macron (front L) pose with world leaders and representatives for a group picture at the start of the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi. (AFP)
Updated 11 March 2018
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Macron pledges €700 million for new solar projects

NEW DELHI: French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for solar projects in developing countries, as world leaders met in India to promote greater investment in renewable energy.
Macron, who in December warned that the global shift to a green energy future was too slow, said France would extend an extra €700 million ($861.5 million) through loans and donations by 2022 for solar projects in emerging economies.
France had already committed $300 million to the initiative when it co-founded with India a global alliance in 2015 to unlock new cash for solar projects in sunny yet poor nations.
“We need to remove all obstacles and scale up,” Macron said at the launch of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who has committed to reducing India’s sizeable carbon footprint through a massive scale-up in renewable energy — said it was vital that nations were not priced out.
“We have to make sure that a better and cost-effective solar technology is available to all,” Modi told the gathering of investors and world leaders from about 20 mainly African nations.
“We will have to increase solar in our energy mix.”
India, the world’s third-largest polluter, is undergoing spectacular growth in its solar sector and is on track to become one of the world’s largest clean energy markets.
It pledged at the Paris climate summit in 2015 to source at least 40 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030, mainly via solar.
The energy-hungry giant of 1.25 billion people is banking on solar to electrify homes for hundreds of millions of its poorest citizens without adding to its considerable emissions output.
Macron and Modi hope the alliance will spur $1 trillion in new solar spending by 2030 in 121 countries lacking investment in the sector.
These countries have “the paradox of being the sunniest in the world while enjoying the least solar energy,” said Ségolène Royal, a former French minister in India as a special envoy for the alliance.
Macron told world leaders in Paris in December that “we are losing the battle” against climate change and urged faster action to combat global warming.
The French leader called on private sector attendees in New Delhi to engage more actively because “solar investments are becoming more profitable.”
He and Modi will open a new 100 megawatt solar plant near the holy Indian city of Varanasi on Monday. The French leader will also visit the Taj Mahal in Agra later Sunday.


British Airways launches first direct flight from Dammam to London

Updated 17 min 20 sec ago
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British Airways launches first direct flight from Dammam to London

  • Flights will be operated by a four-class Boeing 777-200 departing year-round
  • Dammam will become the third route the airline flies to in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: British Airways has launched the first ever direct flight from Dammam to London Heathrow.
The carrier has already started selling tickets priced from SR2,480 ($660) for the new route which will start Dec. 1, 2019.
Flights will be operated by a four-class Boeing 777-200 departing year-round from Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport and landing in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow, British Airways said in a statement on Tuesday.
Dammam will become the third route the airline flies to in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh and Jeddah.
“This new link between Dammam and London underlines the importance of the Eastern province and the need for smooth onward connections to Europe and the United States, said Moran Birger, BA head of sales for the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
It will cut journey times between the two airports by three hours or more because passengers will no longer need to either drive to Bahrain or transit through Riyadh for a connecting flight, the airline said.