Saudi GE Renewables chief urges hybrid solution to overcome solar grid overload

Major investment in energy storage is also needed to smooth out the huge peaks and troughs of rising renewable power production across the Middle East, the WEF in Jordan heard. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 April 2019
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Saudi GE Renewables chief urges hybrid solution to overcome solar grid overload

  • Major investment in energy storage is also needed to smooth out the huge peaks and troughs of rising renewable power production across the Middle East, the WEF on MENA in Jordan heard
  • Renewable power planners are struggling with the challenge of storing enough solar power to be used throughout the day and night

LONDON: Middle East countries investing heavily in solar power need to develop other forms of renewable energy to avoid massive volatility on the grid, according to the Saudi CEO of GE Renewables in the region.
Major investment in energy storage is also needed to smooth out the huge peaks and troughs of rising renewable power production across the Middle East, the World Economic Forum in Jordan heard.
“The impact that no one is understanding is the impact of a high amount of solar on the grid,” said Manar Al-Moneef, the regional CEO of GE Renewables.
“You’re going to hit the grid with a huge amount of power. But if a cloud comes along — bang, it goes all the way down. That will cause major volatility to the grid. Unless you stabilize that with wind as an example, that will be a problem.”
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are among the biggest investors in solar power in the Middle East while Jordan has also installed wind power. However renewable power planners are struggling with the challenge of storing enough solar power to be used throughout the day and night.
In the UAE as an example, gas currently provides 80 percent of the country’s power needs, but the government is targeting a 50:50 mix between gas and renewables by 2030 — mainly from solar power.
Dana Gas CEO Patrick Allman-Ward said that gas would play an important role in complimenting renewables in the Gulf countries.
“In the UAE, whilst they are bringing down gas in the overall power generation mix, gas will play an important role in addressing that intermittency problem because clearly the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day. So you have to find a way of providing the power that people need to consume 24 hours a day.”


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 8 min 11 sec ago
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.