EU reaches deal on higher renewable energy share by 2030

EU reaches deal on higher renewable energy share by 2030
The EU's current 2030 target is for a 32 percent renewable energy share. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 March 2023
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EU reaches deal on higher renewable energy share by 2030

EU reaches deal on higher renewable energy share by 2030

BRUSSELS: The EU reached a provisional deal on Thursday on higher renewable energy targets, an important pillar of the bloc's plans to fight climate change and end dependence on Russian fossil fuels. 
Negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council, representing EU members, agreed that by 2030, the 27-country EU would commit to sourcing 42.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources like wind and solar, with a potential top-up to 45 percent. 

The EU's current 2030 target is for a 32 percent renewable energy share. 

The EU got 22 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2021, but the level varied significantly between countries. Sweden leads the 27 EU countries with its 63 percent renewable energy share, while in Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Ireland, renewable sources make up less than 13 percent of total energy use. 

A rapid shift to renewable energy is crucial if the EU is to meet its climate change goals, including a legally binding aim to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, from 1990 levels. 

EU countries will have to raise to 29 percent the share of renewables in energy used by the transport sector. EU industry would increase its use of renewables by 1.6 percent per year, with 42 percent of the hydrogen it uses deriving from renewable sources by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035. 

The directive added targets for buildings and sought accelerated permitting processes for renewable energy projects. 

Renewable energy targets have gained significance since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the EU has vowed to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027 - and plans to do this mostly through locally produced, low-carbon energy. 

Reaching the new goals will require massive investment in wind and solar farms, scaling up production of renewable gases, and reinforcing Europe's power grids to integrate more clean energy. 

The European Commission has said additional investments of 113 billion euros ($123 billion) in renewable energy and hydrogen infrastructure will be needed by 2030, if EU countries are to end their reliance on Russian fossil fuels. 

The deal must be approved by the EU Parliament and EU countries to become law, normally a formality.


GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets

GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets
Updated 21 sec ago
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GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets

GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council has reinforced its commitment to collaborate with oil-producing nations to stabilize global energy markets and ensure secure and stable supplies.

The confirmation was made during a gathering hosted by GCC Secretary-General Jasem Al-Budaiwi in Riyadh for the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Haitham Al-Ghais. 

The reception took place on Feb. 20 at the General Secretariat headquarters in Riyadh, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

During the meeting, ways to enhance cooperation between the GCC and OPEC in several areas were discussed, specifically the continuous coordination of oil policies between the GCC and the organization.

This coordination aims to ensure secure and stable energy supplies, especially in light of the rapid regional and international developments, as well as circumstances that have impacted global energy markets.

Al-Budaiwi praised OPEC for its significant contributions and indispensable role in ensuring stability and equilibrium in the oil markets and for its proactive approach to addressing future challenges in collaboration with member nations.


Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 

Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 
Updated 26 min 46 sec ago
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Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 

Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 

RIYADH: Dubai’s real estate market experienced robust growth in 2023, reaching an all-time high with residential transactions totaling 118,993 units, a report from CBRE revealed. 

The report highlighted a 29.6 percent year-on-year increase in deal volumes, driven by growth in both the off-plan market and secondary deals. 

Off-plan residential properties are purchased before construction, while the secondary market involves resale properties, existing homes, and established housing areas. 

“The UAE’s residential market ended the year on a strong note, where the elevated levels of demand continue to drive performance,” said Taimur Khan, head of research at CBRE.  

He added that the robust levels of activity and high absorption rates, which have reduced available supply, will “continue to support price growth in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the year ahead.” 

The report highlighted a 20.1 percent increase in average apartment prices in Dubai, and a 19.8 percent and 21.8 percent rise in apartment and villa prices, respectively, in the year to December 2023. 

CBRE also noted a moderation in rental rates in Dubai in 2023, despite sustained high demand. 

“The rate of rental growth has softened throughout the year, where in the year to December 2023, average residential rents in Dubai increased by 18.9 percent, down from the 19.2 percent growth registered in November 2023,” stated the CBRE report. 

The real estate consultancy firm added that Abu Dhabi also witnessed robust growth in residential transactions in the previous year. 

The capital city recorded a 77.8 percent surge in the total volume of residential transactions in 2023, reaching 11,235 compared to the previous year. 

This surge was propelled by a 104 percent growth in off-plan market sales and a 27.7 percent increase in secondary deals. 

The report noted a 2 percent increase in average apartment rents in Abu Dhabi, while villa rents saw a marginal rise of 0.8 percent in the year to the fourth quarter of 2023. 

CBRE projects that the average annual rents for apartments and villas in Abu Dhabi will be 64,996 dirhams ($17,695) and 163,098 dirhams, respectively, by the end of 2024. 

“In terms of rental growth, we expect that rental rates in Abu Dhabi will continue to rise, with prime areas set to outperform the market. In Dubai, we expect that rental growth will continue to moderate, however, still remain positive in 2024,” added Khan.  

On the supply side, a total of 39,190 residential units were estimated to have been delivered in Dubai in 2023, with 34.4 percent of this supply located in Meydan One, Downtown Dubai, and Business Bay.

An additional 68,880 units are expected to be handed over in 2024. 

On the other hand, a total of 2,961 units were delivered in Abu Dhabi in 2023, with 59.4 percent of them being handed over in Shams Abu Dhabi and Najmat Abu Dhabi. 

In 2024, CBRE added that an additional 4,438 units are anticipated to be completed in Abu Dhabi, with 69.1 percent of this new stock expected to be delivered in Yas Island and Al Maryah Island. 

In a separate report, UK real estate services firm Savills noted that the industrial and logistics sector in Dubai stood out as one of the most resilient real estate asset classes in the city. The market remained robust in 2023 due to the expansion of the non-oil sector. 

Savills added that in 2023, there continued to be a shortage of good-quality assets, especially larger facilities exceeding 10,000 sq. m., as occupiers expanded their warehouse footprint. 

The report highlighted a particularly strong demand for built-to-suit warehousing space from companies, reflecting their strategic planning for future expansions and investments in modern warehouse facilities. 

“Companies from the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), 3PL (third party logistics), retail, and e-commerce sectors were the most active occupiers in 2023,” said Michael Fenton, director of industrial and logistics and Savills Middle East.  

He added: “Along with existing occupiers, we saw strong inquiry levels and transactions from new entrants to the market, particularly from the Asia Pacific region, which included the manufacturing sector, as opportunities arose to produce and source locally.”  


Saudi-Egyptian alliance to execute real estate projects worth $1bn in the Kingdom 

Saudi-Egyptian alliance to execute real estate projects worth $1bn in the Kingdom 
Updated 37 min 19 sec ago
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Saudi-Egyptian alliance to execute real estate projects worth $1bn in the Kingdom 

Saudi-Egyptian alliance to execute real estate projects worth $1bn in the Kingdom 

RIYADH: Real estate projects worth $1 billion will be developed in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom signed an with the Egyptian government.  

The memorandum of understanding, inked between Cairo and the Saudi-Egyptian alliance, seeks to facilitate logistical supply and support for property-related projects in the Kingdom.

This initiative will be executed by the alliance, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency. 

At the signing ceremony in Cairo, the Arab Organization for Industrialization represented the Egyptian government, while the Saudi-Egyptian alliance was represented by the firms Alupco Olayan Group, Okta International, and City Edge Developments, respectively. 

This aligns with the collaborative efforts of the two countries to streamline the exchange of investment and trade opportunities between them, the SPA report added. 

Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Osama bin Ahmed Nugali conveyed the Kingdom’s warm welcome and robust support for initiatives aimed at strengthening the ongoing cooperation between the two countries. 

He emphasized the significance of expanding investment opportunities for Egyptian companies and promoting the exchange of experiences, fostering integration between both sides. This collaborative effort seeks to benefit both nations in the process. 


GACA bolsters global aviation hub ambitions at Changi Summit in Singapore

GACA bolsters global aviation hub ambitions at Changi Summit in Singapore
Updated 56 min 18 sec ago
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GACA bolsters global aviation hub ambitions at Changi Summit in Singapore

GACA bolsters global aviation hub ambitions at Changi Summit in Singapore

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is poised to strengthen its position as a global hub linking Asia, Africa, and Europe as its civil aviation authority participates in the Changi Aviation Summit.

A high-level delegation, headed by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, was present at the summit and at the Singapore Airshow on Feb. 19 and 20, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The participation of GACA in these events underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the objectives outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030, particularly in fostering a dynamic and attractive environment for the aviation sector and solidifying its position as a pivotal global hub connecting the three continents.

During the summit and airshow, Al-Duailej seized the opportunity to hold discussions with various stakeholders, including a significant meeting with Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat. 

Their dialogue focused on reinforcing the strong bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Singapore, as well as exploring avenues for deeper collaboration and knowledge exchange in civil aviation.

Saudi Arabia’s presence in such events aligns with its National Aviation Strategy, a comprehensive initiative designed to propel the Kingdom into a prominent position on the global aviation stage, as reported by SPA.

Central to this strategy is the enhancement of international cooperation in air transport and the facilitation of a conducive framework for potential investors keen on collaborating with the burgeoning aviation sector.

Additionally, president Al-Duailej engaged with officials from regional organizations and key players within the civil aviation industry, further underlining Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fostering robust partnerships and driving innovation in air transport on a global scale.


Saudi small businesses granted 3-year extended time to pay financial fees

Saudi small businesses granted 3-year extended time to pay financial fees
Updated 21 February 2024
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Saudi small businesses granted 3-year extended time to pay financial fees

Saudi small businesses granted 3-year extended time to pay financial fees

RIYADH: Saudi small businesses with less than nine workers will now have an extended three years to pay their financial fees, thanks to a decision approved by the Cabinet. 

The agreement aims to support the growth of small establishments and ensure their continuity in the labor market.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development provided two clarifications on how the decision will be implemented.

The first applies to two expatriate workers in the establishment who will be exempt if the owner is full-time and registered with social insurance.

Secondly, four expatriate employees in the establishment will be exempt if the owner is full-time and registered with social insurance.

Additionally, if at least one worker, other than the owner, is a Saudi national, full-time, and registered with social insurance, they will also be exempt.

The maximum number of exemptions allowed is limited to four expatriate employees.