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IEA releases ‘roadmap to net zero’ report

BERKELEY, California, 18 May 2021: The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it has published its first ever comprehensive roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050. The report, it added, provides guidance for governments, companies, investors and the public on what is necessary to fully decarbonize the energy sector and lower greenhouse gas emissions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report, it said, comes after it received widespread criticism for systematically underestimating the pace of adoption of clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind, and substantially overestimating their costs. Critics, it said, argued that IEA projections had effectively acted as support for the fossil fuel industry’s business-as-usual operations.

In a significant shift, the IEA said, it today recognizes that on a net-zero pathway there can be no investment in new fossil fuel supply. This, it said, includes oil, gas and coal projects. The IEA said, it confirms that with the introduction of policy to achieve climate stabilization at 1.5 degrees, the fossil fuel sector will face significant demand reduction.

Danielle Fugere, President, As You Sow, responding to the release of the report, said: “This new net-zero scenario from the IEA finally aligns with investor expectations and makes abundantly clear to fossil fuel companies that they must set net-zero targets, develop a clear transition strategy, and evolve in step with the decarbonizing global economy. Standing in the way of progress is no longer acceptable for companies’ own enterprise success or for the global economy.”

Daniel Stewart, Senior Research Associate, As You Sow, said: “Until now, the IEA’s research has been used to play down transition risks faced by the fossil fuel industry and as a support for inadequate energy and climate policy. IEA’s new scenario firms up what investors already knew about the steps needed to achieve climate stabilization by mid-century. It demonstrates without a doubt that it is difficult but absolutely possible to contain the catastrophic impact of runaway climate change, and signals major disruption on the horizon for industries reliant on fossil fuels.”

Eurovent Middle East joins Cool Coalition

DUBAI, UAE, 20 April 2021: Eurovent Middle East has become a member of the Cool Coalition, a global initiative led by UN Environment and the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, the HVACR industry association said through a Press release. The initiative promotes a holistic and cross-sectoral approach to meet the cooling needs of industrialised and developing countries through better building design, energy efficiency, renewables, and thermal storage as well as phasing down refrigerants with a high global warming potential, Eurovent said.

The Cool Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors from governments, cities, international organisations, businesses, finance, academia and civil society groups to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling. The Cool Coalition is currently working with over 100 partners, including 23 countries.

Markus Lattner, Managing Director, Eurovent Middle East, said: “The Middle East stands like no other region for the essential role of cooling and refrigeration for a successful socio-economic development. Eurovent Middle East has been established to provide crucial coordination between governments, industry and service providers and to build up competence in cooling and refrigeration within the region. We have joined the Cool Coalition, as we fully believe that it will be by cooperation and collaboration that we are able to transform societies towards a responsible and sustainable use of resources. We are proud to join other organisations from our region and strengthen the role of the Middle East in this global initiative.“

Lily Riahi, Cool Coalition Coordinator at UNEP, said: “To put the cooling sector on a path to net-zero emissions, we need everyone on board. The Cool Coalition is thrilled to welcome Eurovent Middle East among its members. Together, we can transform the sector and put it on a path to decarbonisation, in line to global climate targets and sustainable development goals.”

UAE, US commit to jointly tackle climate challenge

ABU DHABI, UAE, 5 April 2021: The United Arab Emirates and the United States announced their joint commitment to tackle the climate challenge in a Joint Statement that stresses the importance and urgency of raising global climate ambition. Both countries announced their intent to cooperate on new investments in financing decarbonisation across the MENA region and beyond, and to focus on assisting the most vulnerable adapt to the effects of climate change.

H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “Together with the US, the UAE has affirmed that decisive, proactive climate action can be an engine for economic growth and sustainable development. Building on the legacy and experience of the UAE, which has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to sustainable development and today operates three of the world’s largest solar facilities, we will focus, together with the US, on joint efforts on renewable energy, hydrogen, industrial decarbonization, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions, and low-carbon urban design.

“The UAE is rich in opportunities with the world’s lowest solar power costs, and significant carbon capture investments. We look forward to sharing our experience with the international community to turn climate action into economic opportunity.”

Noting the progress made by many leading companies, both countries agreed to work closely with the private sector to mobilize the necessary investment and technology resources needed to stem the climate crisis and support the economy.

At the national level, the United States and the United Arab Emirates confirmed their intent to work towards decarbonising their economies according to their national circumstances and economic development plans, including reducing carbon emissions by 2030.

The United States and the United Arab Emirates stressed their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote the success of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

The Joint Statement emerges from the UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action, held on April 4. The event convened climate leaders from across the MENA region and unveiled a new era of cooperation in the region for a future focused on prosperity through climate policy, investment, innovation and sustainable economic growth.

The Dialogue drew the participation of high-level dignitaries from across the region as well as critical global partners and organisations. Participants included COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma and US Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, together with ministers and high-level representatives from the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The event further reinforced the UAE’s regional climate leadership, providing a common ground for participating nations to build a shared vision for climate action ahead of COP26.

RAK Municipality signs MoU with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UAE, 17 February 2021: Ras Al Khaimah Municipality signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) – a joint venture of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Power, Government of India – for a strategic collaboration for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. Making the announcement through a Press release, the Municipality added that H.E. Munther Mohammed bin Shekar, its Director General, and Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairperson, EESL Group, were the signatories.

According to the Municipality, the MoU establishes a framework for collaboration across various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in support of the Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency & Renewables Strategy 2040 (EE&R Strategy).

Commenting on the objectives of the MoU, H.E. bin Shekar said, “The Government of Ras Al Khaimah is committed to the successful implementation of Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040. We welcome the collaboration with EESL, as their unique and vast expertise in energy efficiency can be relevant for us in developing effective projects across many sectors of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Ras Al Khaimah.” Sharing his views on the collaboration, Kumar said: “We are always exploring new avenues for implementing energy efficiency initiatives that are sector- and geography-agnostic. This partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Municipality is a big step towards tapping the immense potential for energy efficiency in the Emirate. Our expertise in handling the world’s largest energy efficiency portfolio and Ras Al Khaimah Municipality’s local experience and technical skills will synergise perfectly to create lasting positive impact in the region.”

Under this MoU, EESL, through its presence in the UAE, will support Ras Al Khaimah Municipality in implementing clean energy and energy efficiency projects under its Integrated Energy Efficiency Service (IEES) model, the Municipality said. This model includes integration of EESL’s various programmes, including the consumer-based Efficient Appliances Programme, Industrial Energy Efficiency Programme, Building Energy Efficiency Programme, Utility-scale Solar Programme, Trigeneration, National Motor Replacement Programme and the National E-mobility Programme, the Municipality added.

The Municipality said it will jointly develop and implement the programme framework with EESL. It said that EESL will make investments and develop customised project models relevant to Ras Al Khaimah. The collaboration is expected to develop and drive energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, as part of the Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040, it added. The Strategy, established under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, targets 30% energy savings, 20% water savings, and 20% contribution of electricity from renewable sources by 2040.

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launches policies to boost UAE’s sustainability agenda

ABU DHABI, UAE, 24 January 2021: His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, launched new initiatives and policies to boost the UAE’s sustainability agenda, the Ministry said through a Press release.  The launch happened during the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the Ministry added.

The Minister highlighted the importance of driving coordinated action to expedite the energy transition and increase the share of renewables in the countries’ energy mix at the opening ceremony of the 11th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He reflected on the UAE’s journey in deploying renewables at home and abroad, leading to a considerable surge in its domestic production capacity, as well as playing an effective and distinct role in reducing the cost of renewable energy worldwide.

At the Ministerial Plenary Meeting on National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition, Dr Al Nuaimi presented the UAE’s new climate ambitions, set out in its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. He noted that the NDC fell under the country’s national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested in its current energy transition.

Moreover, Dr Al Nuaimi delivered the closing remarks at the first joint meeting to prepare for two landmark UN summits that will take place in New York in September 2021 – the Food Systems Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Energy. The participants proposed targets, policies, initiatives, and other outcomes for the summits that have simultaneous food, energy and climate benefits.

At a panel session, titled ‘COP26 – a Crucial Stepping Stone on the Path to a Sustainable Global Recovery’, the Minister stressed that the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) is a timely opportunity for leaders to resume climate negotiations and work on a shared vision for raising climate ambition in the context of a green recovery.

He pointed out that throughout the tough times posed by COVID-19, the UAE has remained dedicated to accelerating its transition to a green economy, as part of its recovery plans, and has taken great strides along this path, including moving forward with its renewables and nuclear projects.

At the third edition of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi announced the launch of the UAE Sustainable Finance Framework 2021-2031 in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). Pioneered by the Ministry, the national framework supports the mobilisation of private capital towards low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient investments.

With the aim of ensuring the UAE emerges as a leader in climate knowledge, the Minister launched the UAE Climate Change Research Network that brings together a group of committed scientists and researchers to advance climate data collection and policy-relevant research on climate change impacts and adaptation. The Network presents opportunities for climate scientists in the UAE to engage with one another and with their peers from other countries as well as to facilitate research collaborations.

Dr Al Nuaimi also unveiled the inaugural edition of The UAE State of Climate Report, which provides an overview of the state of knowledge on historical and projected climate changes and their impacts on the UAE and the wider Arabian Gulf region.

On the sidelines of ADSW 2021, the Minister opened the winners’ announcement of the third edition of the Global Innovation Award (GIA), organised by Globally on behalf of MOCCAE. The competition aims to attract innovations from around the world to the UAE to support the country in its quest to become a world leader in sustainable development. This year’s GIA received a record number of applications – more than 1,200 from 65 countries. The winner was Cambrian Innovation, from the United States, with its innovative waste-to-energy solution that purifies wastewater while producing energy from the contaminants.

Valmet to supply a boiler plant for district heat production

ESPOO, Finland, 21 January 2021: Valmet will supply a boiler plant for district heat production to Seinäjoen Energia Oy’s Kapernaum heat plant in Seinäjoki, Finland, the company said through a Press release. The new boiler will enable the plant to increase the use of renewable fuels in its district heat production, it added.

Owned by the city of Seinäjoki, Seinäjoen Energia provides its customers with services in electricity, district heating and water supply, Valmet said. The company has approximately 4,500 district heat customers with an annual heat need of over 500 GWh, Valmet added.

The order is included in Valmet’s orders, received in the fourth quarter 2020, the company said, adding that the boiler plant will be handed over to the customer in autumn 2022.

Vesa Hätilä, Managing Director, Seinäjoen Energia, said: “We are pleased to start this project. It is a significant step forward in producing cleaner district heat. We will be able to ensure reliable and competitively priced heat for our customers in the future, too.”

Added Kai Janhunen, Vice President, Energy Business Unit, Valmet: “This project features notable environmental values and a great significance for the district heat produced in Seinäjoki. Valmet’s delivery combines strong technical knowhow with high-quality and swift project management. We appreciate Seinäjoen Energia’s trust in Valmet.”

Valmet said it will build the new boiler plant from the foundation upwards all the way from the fuel feed silo to the stack. The core of the delivery is Valmet BFB Boiler, which utilises bubbling fluidised bed technology and runs on a wide range of biomasses. Additionally, Valmet’s delivery includes an electrostatic precipitator, a flue gas condensation unit and a Valmet DNA Automation System for the entire plant, among others.

The fuel capacity of the boiler plant, Valmet said, is 49.5 megawatts (MW). Its maximal district heat capacity, it added, is 56.5 MWth with the flue gas condensation unit.

Minister of Climate Change and Environment confirms UAE’s new NDC is part of its economic, energy diversification drive

DUBAI, UAE, 19 January, 2021: His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today participated in the Ministerial Plenary Meeting on National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition as part of the 11th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Ministry said through a Press release.

The virtual session provided an opportunity to discuss emerging experience in reinforcing energy planning and implementation at the national level, and aligning it with global climate action and goals through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Ministry said.

Highlighting the new targets set as part of the UAE’s NDC, His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi said: “With the support of our stakeholders, we were able to increase our ambition to reduce carbon emissions to 23.5% compared to business as usual for the year 2030. This translates into absolute emission reduction of about 70 million tons. Our clean power capacity is on track to reach 14 GW by 2030, from 125 MW in 2015 and 2.4 GW at present. To date, we have invested more than USD 40 billion in clean energy projects locally.

“While the approval and implementation of the NDC is a key milestone, it’s only one step in the right direction. The move falls under our national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested in the country’s current energy transition.”

The Minister reiterated the UAE’s commitment to doing its part to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, and joining forces with the rest of the world to fight climate change.

His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi also participated in a press briefing organized by IRENA alongside His Excellency Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to IRENA.

Addressing members of the media, the Minister commended the role of IRENA in facilitating and guiding the decarbonisation efforts of its members around the world, and its significant contribution to the growth of the renewables market. Furthermore, he praised the Agency for providing its expertise to assist countries in revising their NDCs over the past year with a focus on increasing the share of renewables in national pledges.

He added: “The work of IRENA couldn’t be more important. Renewable energy holds the solution to many of the issues the world faces today, such as climate change, air pollution, and economic slowdown. Therefore, its deployment should be a key item on the world’s sustainability agenda, along with leveraging cutting-edge technologies and artificial intelligence to ensure we respond smartly, promptly, and efficiently to the most pressing challenges.”

‘The UAE leadership has a view of the future – and it is not just tomorrow’

Climate Ambassador Tomas Anker Christensen

Congratulations on your appointment as Denmark’s Climate Ambassador. Could you speak on the potential areas of cooperation between the UAE and Denmark?

I think it’s remarkable the far-sighted leadership the UAE has taken as an oil- and gas-producing country. The leaders have a view of the future – and the future that is not just tomorrow, not just five or 10 years, but they are thinking ahead to 20 or 50 years from now.

We are talking about the major transformation of energy systems. The largest solar farms in the world are in the UAE, and a lot of investment is being done in this area. The country is taking energy efficiency in buildings seriously and addressing the challenge of having had, years ago, the highest carbon footprint per inhabitant.

In that sense, cooperation between the UAE and Denmark on energy and other topics related to food and maritime issues makes imminent sense. We are the country in the EU with the largest oil -production. We have oil and gas in the North Sea. But we are slowly ending our exploration of that oil and gas, and in December 2020, the Danish Parliament decided to end fossil extraction in the North Sea by 2050 with a plan for the just transition of impacted workers and a conversion of the oil and gas fields to Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)].

There is also a huge market for renewable energy, globally, as this transformation [can be seen] worldwide. In Denmark, we are building better and taller wind farms and offshore wind farms, including over the next two years in two new energy islands. As a result, there has been global interest surrounding Danish windfarm operators and wind constructors, many of whom are now in demand in a number of countries such as the US, Korea and Australia.

Could you speak more about the competitive advantage that countries such as the UAE can have from specialising in sustainable cooling solutions, both in terms of developing the expertise within the country and in terms of pioneering solutions? Do you see this to be a growing market?

The world is undergoing an energy transformation, and the UAE is also very well positioned to be part of it and, in some instances, to lead this transformation. As such, a partnership with a country like Denmark makes great sense.

When it comes to the development of cities, it’s clear that if you look at trends as a whole, [the population] is moving from the countryside to cities at an increased rate. I think the latest figures from UN Habitat and other global organisations is that almost half of the human population lives in cities. We have been going from 30-40% of the population to half, and the trajectory is pointing towards a world where most of the people are in cities.

There have been large movements in the Global South. In China, you have more than 70 cities with more than one million inhabitants, and many are newly constructed with poor quality of buildings that need to be retrofitted and rebuilt. In India, you have a growing middle-class population, and this has led to growth of new buildings in new cities or more modern buildings in new parts of the city. The same trend can be seen in the Gulf region. For a very long time, Dubai was home to most of the cranes in the world. In Africa, large cities that are already big, continue to grow. In Indonesia, we see a population in the process of moving Jakarta to a new island, because it is sinking.

Basically, in many places, the built-environment is not a done deal. We are at the beginning, not at the end. It’s only in older industrial countries in the West that the city structure is permanent. I would think the opportunities for both new buildings and retrofitting are very large, especially in warmer climates, where expertise is needed in challenging environments.

For us, in Denmark, it’s more about reverse engineering our experience with energy efficiency and insulation, and usinge and applying them in the UAE. Also, there would be solutions we need to develop from scratch, based on the circumstances and the physical environment. 

It’s clear that cooling also has some attributes different from heating. [In Denmark], some companies are experimenting with district cooling, but most are district heating, with a lot of combined power and heat plants. Also, some of them are doing this with garbage waste disposal and heat and power. With the more recent climate law, because of the move towards circular economy, we are now looking at recycling and reusing our waste rather than incinerating it.

What can further drive the development of expertise and solutions in the sustainability arena in a country?

A combination of energy pricing and embedding efficiency in building codes and regulation by central and local governments are key here. The building owner and operator might not be interested in building more efficiently because of the perceived cost, and they will try to defer the cost onto the tenants. That means rent goes up, bills go up, and they are not too happy either. That’s always a question for the less well off, that’s also the question of the fair and equitable distribution of the cost and benefit, [[when it comes to implementing sustainable solutions.].

In Denmark, people have been investing in energy efficiency because of energy cost and due to strict regulation since the 1970’s. Because of the cost of energy, there are huge paybacks at a shorter time.

In what ways can the public sector in the GCC region incentivise sustainability initiatives in the built-environment, both in terms of introducing retrofit targets and also ensuring new buildings adhere to higher energy- efficiency goals? 

For one, I would say that educating the general public is extremely important, in terms of the cost, economy, sustainability and potential social benefits.

The very practical education of engineers and economists, integrating energy efficiency into curricula in the built-environment, so that you have your own skilled engineers and technicians ¨to operate systems, do the buildings and learn from it. It is a mentality and way of thinking. We have done it for the last 50 or more years; we didn’t do it before that. It took us a long time and heavy regulation, strong incentives and a lot of private discussion among government and private sector and institutions of higher education to get that sector to operate in an efficient and integrated way. I would encourage public policy makers to think through different dimensions of how to establish a cluster of knowledge and expertise. The young students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and they have to make it work 10-15 years down the road.

French energy companies eye Middle East market

Citing the fact that many countries in the Middle East region are placing greater importance on improving energy efficiency and setting definitive targets related to renewable energy, Manoel Zenon, Trade Advisor, Infrastructures, Transport Industry, Business France, said that he believes French companies are well positioned to provide the technical knowledge and expertise required to achieve the regional public sector’s ambitious targets. Zenon said this is owing to the experience small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in France have in navigating stringent environmental requirements in Europe, which he said, they are eager to share with the regional market.

Vinoth Ramanujam, Regional Sales Director, AEG, represents one such company. Sharing the company’s history in the region’s renewable energy sector, Ramanujam said that AEG was active in solar projects around seven years ago but that the influx of competitors from the east did not allow them to be competitive and that the company is now concentrating on UPS systems, with a solar division focusing on grid and storage applications. On whether energy storage will see the same downturn in price as solar panels, Ramanujam said that the main challenge is to educate people in the market to move away from “20-year-old specifications” and put a premium on quality over cost.

Julien Pariat, Commercial Exports, Obstra, echoed the importance of educating the market to move away from conventional design specifications, saying that this is the main hurdle the company faces as a supplier of surge-protection modules for sensitive equipment. He said that the company aims to work with end-users and consultants during the specification and design stage to highlight its value as an additional layer of protection for sensitive equipment in critical applications, such as hospitals and data centres. The added cost, he stressed, pales in comparison to the cost of repairing damage and downtime from loss of services. “Not having it means there is risk of damage and premature ageing of sensitive equipment,” he said, adding that this extends to HVAC equipment, which is particularly vital for operations of infrastructure in the region.

ACR Project Consultants aims to drive Green cold chain applications across India

Arvind Surange

Pune, India, 19 March 2019: ACR Project Consultants has placed a strong focus on the cold chain sector over the last 30 years, said Arvind Surange, CMD. It was while working on large number of cold chain projects, Surange said, that the company realised the need for integrating Green design concepts in the sector. “We introduced this concept in 2008 and have been promoting it at a global level, highlighting the importance of environment friendliness, energy efficiency, water saving, waste heat recovery, application of renewable energy and other green features,” he said.

Surange said that realising the importance of natural refrigerants, ACR took the lead in designing the first few low-charge Ammonia DX systems in India for cold storage projects. He said: “The basic features of these are: Ammonia charge reduction; compact and lightweight equipment; full automation, including use of electronic expansion valve; and air-cooled or water-cooled setup, based on water availability.

Providing an example of one of the company’s Green projects, Surange pointed to the integrated cold chain facility of Savla Foods and cold storage in Navi Mumbai, which includes recycling of water, waste heat recovery for generating hot water for processing, along with other Green features. He added that the project was named Best Green Cold Chain Solution by the Cold Chain and Logistics Industry in 2017 and Best Food Processing and Cold Chain Project by RefCold India Emerson Awards in 2018.

In addition to this, Surange said, the latest projects the company is working on involve PEB structure with insulated panel enclosures, mechanised loading and unloading systems, eco-friendly and energy-efficient refrigeration and electrical systems, water-saving techniques and full automation. “These projects,” he said, “have been implemented in right from the northern to the southern and from the eastern to the western regions of the country.”

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