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.”


Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

Updated 26 June 2019
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Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

  • The MF has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy
  • ‘If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained’

MANAMA: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that major economic growth was possible in the Palestinian territories if all sides showed urgency, as she took part in a US-led conference boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.
The International Monetary Fund has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy, with tax revenue blocked in a dispute with Israel which has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade.
“If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” said Lagarde.
The IMF chief is attending a conference in Bahrain to discuss the economic aspects of a United States plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians as it fails to address key political issues.
Lagarde said for the US plan to work “it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties — private sector, public sector, international organizations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors.”
Citing examples of post-conflict countries, Lagarde said that private investors needed progress in several sectors including strengthening the central bank, better managing public finance and mobilizing domestic revenue.
“If anti-corruption is really one of the imperatives of the authorities — as it was in Rwanda, for instance — then things can really take off,” she said.
The plan presented by White House adviser Jared Kushner calls for $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors within a decade.
The proposals for infrastructure, tourism, education and more aim to create one million Palestinian jobs.
Gross domestic product in the Gaza Strip declined by eight percent last year, while there was only minor growth in the West Bank.
Kushner, opening the conference on Tuesday, called the plan the “Opportunity of the Century” — and said the Palestinians needed to accept it before a deal can be reached on political solutions.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the conference, saying that the US and Israel are trying to dangle money to impose their ideas on a political settlement.
Washington says it will unveil the political aspects of its peace deal at a later date, most likely after Israel’s September election.