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

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.”


Japan’s Uniqlo pulls ad after South Korean fury

Updated 21 October 2019

Japan’s Uniqlo pulls ad after South Korean fury

  • South Korean and Japanese relationship is deeply strained by the legacy of Tokyo’s 20th-century expansionism
  • Seoul and Tokyo are currently locked in a bitter trade and diplomatic row stemming from historical disputes
SEOUL: Japanese retail giant Uniqlo has pulled a commercial featuring a 98-year-old US fashion figure from South Korean screens, it said Monday after it was accused of whitewashing colonial history.
South Korea and Japan are both US allies, democracies and market economies faced with an overbearing China and nuclear-armed North Korea, but their relationship is deeply strained by the legacy of Tokyo’s 20th-century expansionism.
The latest example is an advert for Uniqlo fleeces showing elderly fashion celebrity Iris Apfel chatting with designer Kheris Rogers, 85 years her junior.
The last line has the white-haired Apfel, asked how she used to dress as a teenager, innocuously responding: “Oh my God. I can’t remember that far back.”
But Uniqlo’s Korean arm subtitled its version of the ad slightly differently, reading: “I can’t remember things that happened more than 80 years ago.”
That would put the moment as 1939, toward the end of Japan’s brutal colonial rule over the Korean peninsula, where the period is still bitterly resented, and some South Koreans reacted furiously.
“A nation that forgets history has no future. We can’t forget what happened 80 years ago that Uniqlo made fun of,” commented one Internet user on Naver, the country’s largest portal.
The phrase “Uniqlo, comfort women,” in reference to women forced to become sex slaves to Japanese troops during the Second World War, was among the most searched terms on Naver at the weekend, and demonstrators protested outside Uniqlo shops on Monday.
Seoul and Tokyo are currently locked in a bitter trade and diplomatic row stemming from historical disputes, and South Korean consumers have mounted boycotts of Japanese products.
Uniqlo — which has 186 stores in South Korea — has itself been one of the highest-profile targets, while Japanese carmakers’ sales dropped nearly 60 percent year-on-year in September.
The company denied the allegations in a statement, saying the text was altered to highlight the age gap between the individuals and show that its fleeces were for people “across generations.”
“The ad had no intention whatsoever to imply anything” about colonial rule, a Uniqlo representative said on Monday, adding the firm had withdrawn the ad in an effort at damage control.
Analysts said the controversy demonstrated the politicization of the neighbors’ complex history.
The reaction was excessive, said Kim Sung-han, a former foreign affairs vice minister who teaches at Korea University, involving a “jump in logic” that “assumes everything Uniqlo does is political as a Japanese company.”
“I don’t see how her remark could be linked to the comfort women issue,” he added. “This is overly sensitive.”