Making Saudi Arabia the kingdom of clean energy

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Updated 01 April 2015
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Making Saudi Arabia the kingdom of clean energy

A Saudi woman is characterized, in the current era, by her love to improve herself and upgrade her intellectual and educational levels to compete with women around the world.
With the development of education in the Kingdom, Saudi women are working hard to complete their degrees and accomplish advanced levels of higher education.
Samar Khan is one such successful, ambitious Saudi woman who is working on a PhD in the field of energy economy in Nottingham. She first pursued a bachelor’s degree in English and later went on to research in the field of renewable energy. Born in Dammam on Nov. 1, 1983, Samar lived most of her life in Jeddah before moving to Britain.
Samar is a daughter, a wife and a mother to two children — Abdul Rahman and Layal. She is thankful to her parents for their prayers and to her husband for his constant support. She said he stood behind her at every step of her educational and practical life.
In an interview with Arab News’ sister publication Sayidaty, Samar talks about the important developments in the field of renewable energy and her own ambitions:

First of all, how do you balance your personality and lifestyle?
Thankfully, I was raised to be a strong woman, daring to express my opinion, and accept constructive criticism with an open mind. I am not afraid of the future because I know very well that God will be with me at every step and certainly will make my dreams come true. My family, husband, my children, and wellness are God’s best gifts. I am an ordinary person, and my lifestyle is somewhat usual, but I have an ambitious character. I want Saudi Arabia to be called the ‘Kingdom of Clean Energy’ and not the ‘Kingdom of Oil’.

How would you describe yourself as a mother?
Abdul-Rahman and Layal are the sweetest two gifts I have had in my life. I do not leave my kids with maids or babysitters and this is somewhat a touchy subject in the Kingdom, especially because of the many gatherings and weddings we have here. However, in Britain, it’s totally different. Children are also among the wedding invitees. A friend of mine once sent me a wedding invitation, and to my surprise, the names of my son and daughter were written on the card. This was the first time in their lives they attended a marriage ceremony. And when I expressed my admiration and joy for inviting my children to the ceremony, my friend told me ‘I’m surprised ... how could you leave your kids at home for your friends’ weddings!’

Tell us about your scholarship period and experiences you gained during your studies?
The scholarship program has given me and other students many positive results, education wise, because it allowed us to choose specialties that are not available for students in Saudi universities, such as in engineering, the disciplines of oil and alternative energy, atomic energy and solar energy. My scholarship gave me an opportunity to spread the truth about our culture, which, unfortunately, has been stereotyped in the West, especially with regard to Saudi women. In my experience, whenever I attended conferences or workshops in London, I heard positive comments from the audience about Saudi women and their achievements.

You are a model for Saudi women abroad. What are your interests in your field of study?
I hope so. As for my professional and scientific fields, I am a PhD researcher in the Business Administration department of the British Nottingham Trent University, and a writer for the (Capital) economic e-newspaper. I got a bachelor’s degree in English from King Abdul Aziz University, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Nottingham Trent University. I am also interested in the post-oil economy, and the diversification of the Saudi sources of income.

Do you have any hobbies besides your studies?
Yes, photography and fashion design. I had started a small business with a friend, and we were very excited about it. However, unfortunately, we stopped everything when I decided to move to Britain for my studies.

What occupies your mind?
Spreading awareness about renewable energy and energy efficiency issues in Saudi Arabia concerns me very much. Therefore, my research focuses on the energy security and economic problems that could face Saudi Arabia in the future, in addition to the role of renewable energy in creating a new kind of economy.
Why did you choose the subject of renewable energy?
I chose energy security in particular because there is a concern about the local energy situation in the Kingdom, where the amount of local consumption began to rise at an alarming rate of around 7 percent per annum, and this rise will threaten the future of the Kingdom. In addition to that, my stay in Britain and watching their good exploitation of renewable energy from the sun and wind on their farms and homes, made me think of the importance of research on renewable energy. Also, everyone knows that the oil is a depleting energy source, so the entire world has begun to intensify studies and researches to find supportive energy sources.

How do you reach housewives and make them aware of the rationalization of consumption and use of alternative energy?
I try to spread awareness on topics of energy conservation through my accounts on social networking sites, Instagram and Twitter, and by writing and publishing columns. I try to write a weekly article on renewable energy and energy conservation to benefit everyone.

What are your future ambitions?
My ambition now and until I finish my PhD is to spread awareness in Saudi society about the importance of preserving our oil wealth by rationalyzing the consumption of energy. Many still believe that Saudi Arabia has a running river of oil, and you will find that some people do not recognize the term electricity rationalization and do not know anything about environmental pollution resulting from our consumption of oil. In my humble opinion, oil is a non-renewable source and could let us down any moment, so we have to be ready for a post-oil future.

To what extent is renewable energy essential in the Kingdom?
Renewable energy is no longer a luxury now. The whole world is heading toward this technology due to either a search for a supportive energy for oil, or because of pressure from environmental organizations and authorities that are trying hard to reduce the negative effects resulting from the rate of burning fossil fuel, and thus diminishing global warming and climate change, which is beginning to create a lot of controversy and concerns now.

An advice you want to give to society?
I hope that Saudi Arabia benefits from the ideas in the minds of young men and women. Thank God, we have money, brains and patents in various fields, we only lack implementation.

Email: [email protected]news.com


’Lava bomb’ from Hawaii volcano injures 23 on boat

Updated 6 min 45 sec ago
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’Lava bomb’ from Hawaii volcano injures 23 on boat

  • Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanos and one of five on the island
  • The eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes since it began on May 3

LOS ANGELES: A projectile from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii struck a boat carrying people watching lava from the two-month-old eruption, injuring 23, the fire department said.
Thirteen of them required hospitalization and the rest were treated at a harbor when the boat engaged in a “lava tour” returned to the Big Island, also known as Hawaii.
Lava flowing into the Pacific is a spectacular sight, producing a foggy haze known in Hawaii as “laze.”
One woman was in serious condition with a fractured femur.
The total number of people on the boat was not immediately known, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.
In the early morning incident a “lava bomb” punctured the roof of the boat and damaged a railing, the department said. It gave no further details.
“It was an explosion, basically,” said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the county mayor, told the Tribune Herald newspaper. “It punctured a hole right through the roof of the boat.”
She described the boat as “covered with lava.”
The eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes since it began on May 3.
Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanos and one of five on the island.
One of the most active fissures, number 8, continues to erupt and its lava has formed a small “island” a few meters from the coast, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
It is very likely that it is part of the flow of fissure 8 that is entering the ocean, the USGS says.
Lava has engulfed an area of about eight square miles (20 square kilometers) since the volcano began erupting.
Scientists believe that volcanic activity can be a precursor to a major eruption, similar to a Kilauea eruption in the mid-1920s.