UK's Drax considers delaying closure of coal plants to plug energy gap: FT

UK's Drax considers delaying closure of coal plants to plug energy gap: FT
Drax Power Station at sunset, Selby North Yorkshire England (Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 September 2021

UK's Drax considers delaying closure of coal plants to plug energy gap: FT

UK's Drax considers delaying closure of coal plants to plug energy gap: FT
  • Britain will host the COP26 climate change summit in November to spur more ambitious commitments by countries to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • Gardiner said the United Kingdom would face a "tough winter" if temperatures were colder than average

UK power generator Drax Group Plc said it could keep its coal-fired power plants operating beyond their planned closure next year as the energy crisis in Europe highlights potential fragilities in Britain's energy supplies, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Thursday.


"If the government wants us to rethink our plans, we need to talk to them in the next few months," Drax CEO Will Gardiner said in an interview with the FT.


His comments come as Britain prepares to host the COP26 climate change summit in November to spur more ambitious commitments by countries to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius during this century.


Gardiner said the United Kingdom would face a "tough winter" if temperatures were colder than average, and Drax's last remaining coal units would help to balance a grid that had experienced tight supply in recent weeks.


The country's energy regulator Ofgem and business minister Kwasi Kwarteng warned parliament this week that soaring gas prices would force more suppliers out of business and that the industry should prepare for a tougher environment. 

Mr Kwarteng said on Thursday that the goverrnment would not bail out failed energy firms.


Avro Energy and Green Supplier Limited became the latest providers to say they would cease trading, following a handful of others that have exited the market this year.


FII is now a US-registered international organization: CEO

FII is now a US-registered international organization: CEO
Updated 11 sec ago

FII is now a US-registered international organization: CEO

FII is now a US-registered international organization: CEO

The head of the Future Investment Initiative Institute (FII) has said that the nonprofit foundation is now an international organization which is registered in the United States.

Speaking in a press conference in Riyadh today, Richard Attias added there are plans to build offices in Asia soon.

The chief executive officer pointed out that to build credibility, the organization must have sponsors. While they are a part of the organization now, he remarked that it was not easy to attract the likes of HSBC and Zoom.

The FII's chief operating officer Rakan Tarabzoni also said the foundation is now independent from the PIF and is focusing on promoting thinking and investments in startups among other areas.


Egypt's non-oil exports rose to $2.56 billion in September

Egypt's non-oil exports rose to $2.56 billion in September
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Updated 17 min 13 sec ago

Egypt's non-oil exports rose to $2.56 billion in September

Egypt's non-oil exports rose to $2.56 billion in September
  • This reflects the efforts made by the government to support the production and export sectors during the pandemic

Egypt's non-oil exports saw a significant annual increase during September, recording a 16 percent rise as it reached $2.56 billion compared to $2.12 billion in September 2020.

Nevin Gamea, the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, said the country's imports witnessed a noticeable decline of 7 percent during the month of September, reaching $4.9 billion, compared to $5.29 billion in the same month of last year. 

This contributed to a 24 percent decrease in the trade balance deficit as it stood at $2.3 billion last month, compared to $3.8 billion during September the year prior. 

Gamea explained the positive developments achieved during September come as a continuation of the expanding Egyptian merchandise exports since the beginning of this year — growing by 25 percent during the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. 

This reflects the efforts made by the government to support the production and export sectors during the pandemic, which contributed to the preservation of the export markets.

She pointed out that Egyptian exports to the European Union increased to $739 million in September, compared to $463 million during the same period last year.

Exports to the United States experienced a 52 percent rise to reach $205 million, compared to $135 million during the same period last year. Exports to African countries — excluding Arab countries — rose by 31 percent as well.

Gamea noted that exports of the printing, packaging, paper, literary and artistic works sector and the engineering and electronic goods sector had the highest growth rates at 76 percent and 34 percent respectively when compared to the same period in 2020.

The markets that received the highest levels of Egyptian exports in September included the US, Saudi Arabia and Italy while imports to Egypt were largely from China, the US and Germany.


Kuwait has begun increasing oil production: KUNA

Kuwait has begun increasing oil production: KUNA
Updated 23 min 4 sec ago

Kuwait has begun increasing oil production: KUNA

Kuwait has begun increasing oil production: KUNA

 Kuwait has begun to increase its crude production in accordance with an agreement reached by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, Oil Minister Mohammad al-Fares said on Thursday.


The minister, cited by the state news agency KUNA, said Kuwait's plans to increase output includes production from the shared zone with Saudi Arabia.

Separately the foreign minister added that the Arab League supports holding elections in Libya on time on December 24 and that all foreign forces should leave the country as stipulated by UN resolutions.


Egypt aims to boost renewable energies to over 42% by 2035: Electricity minister

Egypt aims to boost renewable energies to over 42% by 2035: Electricity minister
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Updated 37 min 37 sec ago

Egypt aims to boost renewable energies to over 42% by 2035: Electricity minister

Egypt aims to boost renewable energies to over 42% by 2035: Electricity minister
  • The minister indicated that Egypt is the largest holder of electrical capacities in the MENA region

Egypt will aim to increase the share of renewable energies to over 42 percent by 2035, after the country reached 2022’s target for boosting renewables to 20 percent early this year. 

The minister of electricity and renewable energy, Mohamed Shaker, noted that Egypt has allocated 7,650 square kilometres of unused lands to new and renewable energy projects, during a meeting with CEO of Lekela Power, Chris Antonopoulos. 

The minister indicated that Egypt is the largest holder of electrical capacities in the MENA region and has the capacity to produce up to 90 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity, citing Wind Atlas. 

The meeting was held to support and enhance cooperation between Egypt’s electricity sector and the company, which boasts high expertise in the field of wind energy power plants. 


Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23

Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
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Updated 21 October 2021

Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23

Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
  • Tourism has been gradually recovering from COVID travel restrictions put in place in March 2020

Egypt's economy will grow 5.1 percent in the fiscal year that ends in June 2022, but accelerate to 5.5 percent in each of the following two years as tourism continues to rebound and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic wane, a Reuters poll showed.

The central bank said last month economic growth surged to 7.7 percent in the final quarter of the last fiscal year, indicating growth of 3.3 percent for the entirety of 2020/21, up from a previous full fiscal-year estimate of 2.8 percent.

Economists in a July poll predicted economic growth would be 5.0 percent for the year to next June.

"We expect consumption growth to pick up from a low base post-COVID and public investment to remain strong this year," Allen Sandeep of Naeem Brokerage said.

"What will be critical to see is if this growth is sustained in 2022/23, by when the pandemic effects should hopefully subside substantially."

Tourism has been gradually recovering from COVID travel restrictions put in place in March 2020.

Tourism revenue plummeted to $4.9 billion in 2020/21 from $9.9 billion a year earlier. But in the April to June quarter it bounced back to $1.75 billion from a low of $305 million in the same quarter of 2020, according to central bank data.

In the latest Reuters poll, economists expected annual urban consumer price inflation to climb to 6.0 percent in 2021/22, then picking up even further to 6.4 percent in 2022/23 and 7.0 percent in 2023/24, still within the central bank's target range of 5 percent to 9 percent.

Egypt's annual inflation rose to 6.6 percent year-on-year in September, its highest in 20 months, from 5.7 percent in August, mainly due to rising food prices, the state statistics agency CAPMAS said this month. read more 

The currency will weaken to 15.81 Egyptian pounds per dollar by the end of 2021, to 16.25 by the end of 2022 and to 17.24 by the end of 2023, the Oct. 8-20 poll of 22 economists showed.

The central bank is expected to leave its overnight lending rate unchanged at 9.25 percent throughout 2021/22 and 2022/23, then increase it to 10.25 percent by the end of June 2024, the poll found.

"We believe Egypt's sizeable CA (current account) deficit explains the central bank's reluctance to cut interest rates," causing a strong increase in imports and income outflows, RenCap's Yvonne Mhango wrote in a note.