Saudi Arabia shines a light on future of solar power

Saudi Arabia shines a light on future of solar power
Updated 04 April 2019

Saudi Arabia shines a light on future of solar power

Saudi Arabia shines a light on future of solar power
  • A Saudi developer’s plan to harness the sun 24/7 is sparking a renewable energy revolution in the region
  • ACWA Power is the main developer on the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is embracing a new, more efficient way to harness solar power for electricity, inspired by its role as the main developer in one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
Concentrated solar power (CSP), which makes up a large part of the project, has become the new buzzword in sustainable and renewable energy thanks to its ability to store heat and meet electricity demands at night.
The Kingdom will use its experience in the Dubai project as the basis for its own first hybrid project, which is under construction in the northern industrial city of Waad Al-Shamal and will include 50 megawatts (MW) of CSP.
“Saudi Arabia is watching this new project in Dubai in detail as its tariff and scale have attracted the Kingdom’s attention,” said Abdulhameed Al-Muhaidib, director of asset management at Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, and executive managing director of Dubai-based Noor Energy 1, one of the world’s largest renewable energy plants.
CSP technology is being used as part of the fourth phase of the Dubai project, the largest single-site solar park in the world, with a total capacity of 950 MW, comprising 700 MW from CSP and 250 MW from photovoltaic (PV) solar power.
ACWA Power is working as the main developer, using its experience to help further future CSP projects in the Kingdom.
“I’m sure that in the next phase of Saudi bids there will be CSP components,” said Al-Muhaidib. “It has been announced that 2,700 MW of an upcoming Saudi project will be full CSP, but the detailed timing hasn’t been announced yet. There are more plans for it, and we’re looking forward to working on that.”

The first batch of projects announced by Saudi Arabia has been in wind and PV. Another seven to nine projects are announced for 2019, all of which are PV.
“The reason (for turning to CSP) is very simple — it’s driven by the tariff, where PV and wind have already internationally given a lower tariff and are basically cheaper compared with conventional energy,” Al-Muhaidib said on the sidelines of a recent press conference announcing details of the fourth phase of the Dubai solar park.
“But for the first time, the price for the new CSP technology has gone under double digits, reaching 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour.”
The project is located in Seih Al-Dahal, 50 km south of Dubai, and is expected to be completed by 2030.
Al-Muhaidib explained the difference between CSP and regular PV, whereby electricity is created from electrons in the solar PV panels when the sun hits the panels.
With CSP, sunlight hits a mirror, and is then reflected on to a receiver. In the receiver, a liquid is heated, which drives a steam turbine connected to an electrical power generator.
“It’s a completely different technology because you have to do a heat exchange and (use) steam turbines, a process that makes it more expensive than solar PV,” Al-Muhaidib said.
“The main benefit is storage because you can store heat, while in panels you can’t and lithium batteries are still expensive.”
Large molten salt tanks with a storage capacity of up to 15 hours store the heat and, consequently, allow electricity to be used at night.
Meanwhile, the $4.3 billion phase of the project in Dubai will involve the construction of a 260-meter solar tower, which is now 9 percent complete, providing 320,000 residents with clean energy and a 24-hour power supply from renewable energy.
It will also help save 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions per year. On completion, the solar park will result in a reduction of more than 6.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
“A very big responsibility lies on us, but it’s a positive challenge and we will be up to the task,” said Mohammed bin Abdullah Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, at the press conference. “We’ve ensured to set the first block of this project a few months ago, and we’re committed to providing the highest standards when it comes to the environment.
“Both countries have great investments (in this field), and this is one of the most important technical projects in the world,” Abunayyan said.
“Investments in technology are the most (crucial) in today’s world.”
He spoke of a shift in mentality toward renewable energy. “Solar was never considered to be able to produce energy 24 hours a day, and it never had a procedure for storage,” he said.
“But this new project has changed that … The cost is very close or even less than fossil fuels, and we never thought this is something we could achieve.
“Dubai has changed the map of CSP around the world and brought back its competitiveness, while turning it into a fully stable load for a longer time, which wasn’t possible in the past,” Abunayyan said.
Saeed Al-Tayer, managing director and CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, said the project marks a new milestone in recognizing the importance of renewable and clean energy, promoting its use and striking the right balance between development and the environment.
“The solar park will produce 5,000 MW by 2030. The project will cover an area of 44 sq km and achieve several world records, including the world’s lowest CSP cost of electricity, the tallest solar tower in the world, and the largest thermal storage capacity allowing for round-the-clock energy availability,” he said.
“The real challenge we’ve been facing with solar systems, especially clean energy, is storage, but ACWA Power is the best in terms of technical capabilities for the project.”
Renewable energy has an essential role to play in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan, as the country looks to diversify its economy and shift away from its dependence on oil.
Dr. Robert Ichord, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, said the Kingdom’s annual electricity growth is
8-10 percent, with estimates that it will rise in the near future as electricity demands potentially double by 2030.
And with two peaks in electricity in Saudi Arabia — one in the day and one at night — Al-Muhaidib said the country needs to prepare itself to ensure that it is able to meet that demand at night.
“This is where CSP will come into play,” he said.
ACWA Power’s contractor is working with several Saudi manufacturers to provide them with knowledge about CSP technology.
“Most of the steel structure for this project is coming from Saudi companies, and there are talks about other components of this project coming from the Kingdom,” Al-Muhaidib said.


Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail

Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail
Former reporter and jazz and blues singer, Loulwa Al-Sharif has been singing for seven years. The larger-than-life singer has been the talk of the town for years, delivering high and low notes with passion. (Supplied)
Updated 28 min 4 sec ago

Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail

Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail
  • Social reforms open doors for female musicians in traditional male field

JEDDAH: Saudi female musicians and performers are hitting the high notes and creating crowd-pleasing beats for Saudi fans.

Jazz and blues, rock, rap and many other genres have been explored by Saudis, but now more Saudi women are making their way to the performance stage, thanks to social reforms that mean career choices that once were taboo are now supported by many.
Saudi electronic music producer and DJ Nouf Sufyani, known as Cosmicat, told Arab News that has been obsessed with music since childhood.
“My love for music was overwhelming and kept leading me back until I started making my own,” the 27-year-old said.
In 2017, Sufyani began gaining attention in the male-dominated field because of her unique style.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dental medicine and surgery, and worked as a dentist for a while before pursuing her music career.
“It’s a struggle proving myself in a male-dominated industry, and there is also the fear of being a social outcast for what I do since it’s not a traditional job and the style of music I play is not really mainstream,” said Sufyani.
Music is “the motivation that keeps me going every day — it’s a form of art that I keep rediscovering over and over.”
Sufyani taught herself to DJ. “I do electronic music, I love to use my voice and some Arabic poetry or spoken word or even a capella. I make music that can be enjoyed on the dance floor; my flavor is more underground and very personal.”

Saudi electronic music producer and DJ Nouf Sufyani, known as Cosmicat, told Arab News that has been obsessed with music since childhood.

Her music is available on major platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Anghami, Deezer and Soundcloud, and is also played on the flight entertainment system of Saudi Airlines.
Lamya Nasser, a 33-year-old facility and travel management officer, developed an interest in rock and metal at the age of nine, and began recording her music in 2008, long before the social reforms, as part of the first Saudi female rock band the Accolade.
“What got me started is my love and passion for rock music, how much I can relate to a lot of its messages and how it shaped my character along the way,” she told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Jazz and blues, rock, rap and many other genres have been explored by Saudis, but now more Saudi women are making their way to the performance stage, thanks to social reforms that mean career choices that once were taboo are now supported by many.

“I started my journey with the Accolade back when I was 21 and a student at King Abdul Aziz University. I got to know a very talented guitar player named Dina and along with her sister we formed the band.”
In that year, the band visited Khaled Abdulmanan, a music producer in Jeddah at Red Sand Production. They have recorded three songs: “Pinocchio” (2008), “Destiny” (2009) and her favorite, “This is not me” (2010).
After the women graduated, they went their separate ways. “Sadly, we weren’t able to gather for rehearsals like we used to, and each one of us started her own career.”
In 2018, Nasser went solo and continues to share her performances on Instagram @Lamya.K.Nasser. She recently joined a new recording studio under the name of Wall of Sound.

Lamya Nasser, a 33-year-old facility and travel management officer, developed an interest in rock and metal at the age of nine, and began recording her music in 2008.

“Music can be the fuel to our soul and regenerate our energy. We can translate our pain and express ourselves through music,” she said.
Nasser said that the song “Pinocchio” had more than 19,000 listens on Soundcloud. “It made me truly happy and proud. Even now I still messages on my Instagram account from time to time from beautiful souls sharing their admiration for Accolade’s music,” she said.
Former reporter and jazz and blues singer, 33-year-old Loulwa Al-Sharif (@loulwa_music) has been singing for seven years. The larger-than-life singer has been the talk of the town for years, delivering high and low notes with passion.

Music is the motivation that keeps me going every day — it’s a form of art that I keep rediscovering over and over.
Cosmicat

“I tried working in different fields since I was 17, and decided to leave journalism three years ago to work on what I’m passionate about,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.
“I was one of very few women performing six years ago. It was a little difficult. There were talented females, but no one was singing live in front of an audience. I was maybe the first or second,” she said. “It was hard, but a lot of people were supporting me.” She described music as raw emotion.
“Blues is real emotion and jazz is unpredictable, I love how unpredictable it is from the sound of the piano — there are no rules, and the lyrics from blues music are so real.”
Al-Sharif hopes to educate the new generation on jazz and blues through her performances.
“I chose to sing it back then because not many from the new generation listen to jazz and blues, so I really wanted to bring it back and for people to enjoy it.”


Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020

Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020
A Saudi money exchanger wears gloves as he counts Saudi riyal currency at a currency exchange shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 3 min 36 sec ago

Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020

Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020
  • Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (GAZT) prevented the smuggling of more than 290 kilograms of gold jewelry and almost SR90 million ($24 million) in cash from crossing out of the Kingdom over the span of 18 months since the beginning of 2020.
As part of efforts to combat smuggling through its facilities in Saudi Arabia, GAZT officers were able to foil an attempt on Friday to smuggle SR2.76 million in cash hidden inside a truck leaving through the Al-Batha Border Port.
GAZT officials said that the money was “stashed in the cavity of the rear axles of the truck,” adding that legal measures were taken against the smuggler.
In another smuggling operation foiled on May 27, inspectors were alerted to a suspicious female passenger arriving at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport. She was found to have ingested 60 capsules, or 683.5 grams of cocaine. Similarly, a male passenger had ingested 80 capsules, containing 918.5 grams of cocaine.

FASTFACT

Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare the items electronically through the GAZT application or website.

Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare the items electronically through the GAZT application or website by filling out the designated form electronically, and submitting the reference number to customs authorities upon departure or arrival.
GAZT said that in the event of a false or nondeclaration, a fine of 25 percent of the value of the seized items will be imposed.
If a violation is repeated, a fine of 50 percent of the value of the seized items will be handed down. This is applicable only if there is no suspicion of the incident being linked to a predicate crime or money laundering crime, but should there be any suspicion, the entire amount shall be withheld and the violator shall be referred to The Kingdom’s Public Prosecution.


Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term
Updated 41 min 1 sec ago

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

NEW YORK: Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, congratulated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on securing a second term.

Al-Mouallimi expressed the aspiration of the Saudi mission to continue working with the secretary-general in promoting peace and security around the world as well as ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, Al-Mouallimi chaired the virtual meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Contact Group with the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

The meeting tackled the latest political developments in Myanmar and the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

 


Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia

Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia
Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines and jail in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 49 min 14 sec ago

Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia

Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia
  • Ibrahim provides an alternate method for consumers to be informed about a product and avoid being fooled by influencers

JEDDAH: Those who promote and advertise fraudulent goods on social media sites have been warned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution that they could face up to three years in prison or a SR1 million ($267,000) fine, or both.
Victims of such misselling told Arab News of the emotional and financial costs of falling prey to such schemes.
Noaf Abdulaziz from Jeddah said that she had been deceived into purchasing products that were counterfeit. “There is this one very well-known influencer at a high caliber of fame who was promoting her own makeup brand. Due to her status and constant promotion of her products on social media, I figured they must be legit. I bought them (the products) and threw them out the same day. They weren’t anything like how she had described or promised. I felt like I was fooled.”
This is not an isolated incident for Abdulaziz. She said she wasted SR400 on a travel kit for women that was promoted on social media. “When I came to use it, everything fell apart and nothing worked. I paid for nothing. It was a waste,” she said. “I got tired of all the fakeness and money-hungry people who kept lying to us.” 
It is not only counterfeit beauty products that are being promoted.
Kawthar Ali, a mother of two, revealed how the nature of social media’s promotions of fraudulent products could affect a married couple. “A famous and admired influencer gave birth exactly four months after I did. Naturally, I followed her every move and saw the high-standard products she bought and advised to buy for our babies. I could not afford most of the mothercare products she promoted but I still insisted that my husband pay for them because as a mother you want the best of the best for your children,” she told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

When the fines were first announced in 2017, the Consumer Protection Association urged consumers to be aware of the exaggerated language that influencers can use to promote products or services and to remind themselves that influencers are being paid.

“This created a rift between my husband and I when the products were not up to par with how she promoted them.”
When the fines were first announced in 2017, the Consumer Protection Association urged consumers to be aware of the exaggerated language that influencers can use to promote products or services and to remind themselves that influencers are being paid.
“I’ve witnessed too many people I know being affected by promotions. I think people need to remember that these are all paid promotions and everything is exaggerated; they are being robbed of their time, effort and money by individuals who are profiting from lying to their viewers. It’s like a betrayal or a break of trust,” Manal Ibrahim, a designer in Jeddah, told Arab News.
Ibrahim also provides an alternate method for consumers to be informed about a product and avoid being fooled by influencers. “Certain brands have promotional pages on Instagram. This way a person can go to the page of the company, research the products themselves and read reviews on them before deciding to pay.”


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration
Updated 40 min 20 sec ago

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Abdulrahman Al-Arifi is deputy director general for research and consultation at the Institute of Public Administration (IPA).

In 2001, he received a master’s degree in computer science from the University of New Orleans, US. In 2012, he obtained a Ph.D. in information systems from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. His doctoral thesis was nominated for the QUT outstanding doctoral thesis award in 2015.

Al-Arifi joined IPA as a faculty member in 1996. Some of his main responsibilities are to oversee, evaluate and innovate IPA research and consultancy services that are provided to the public and private sectors.

He is chair of the scientific council and the supervisor general of the editorial board of the Public Administration Journal, which oversees IPA’s academic activities. He has also served as both member and consultant in many government committees.

Before his appointment, Al-Arifi served as IT director general, where he was responsible for overseeing and monitoring the execution of projects in the four departments of applications, operations, customer services and information security.

Through his research activities, he leads and assists in the production of authentic and in-depth studies that analyze and address administrative issues. He also supervises consultation activities and assists in providing professional consultations based on modern scientific methodologies.

Al-Arifi, a certified ITIL V3, has won several awards for his research. In 2015, he was recognized by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Australia for his academic performance.