Mohammed bin Zayed receives world leaders

Mohammed bin Zayed receives world leaders

HH General Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received several world leaders on a visit to the capital, WAM reported on Monday.

On separate occasions, Sheikh Mohammad received Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edmond Panariti and Kosovo's President Atifete Jahjaga.

The officials are in the capital to attend the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, hosted by Abu Dhabi's Masdar between January 13 to 17.

Sheikh Mohammad welcomed their visit and their respective country's positive participation in energy forum, which discusses the best solutions to address challenges to global adoption of renewable energy solutions, water security and sustainable development. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi Government provides Dh330.5 million grant to fund 3 power stations and a food security project in Guinea

Under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by virtue of which the Government of Abu Dhabi will provide Dh 330.57 million (US$90 million) financial grant to the Republic of Guinea.

The move is in line with the Government of Abu Dhabi's keenness to support and help developing countries face their development difficulties, and allow them to implement efficient plans to uplift the living standards of their people.

Administered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the grant will fund a number of vital development projects in Guinea, including the construction of three power generation plants and the development of the country's agricultural sector in order to help it achieve food security.

Commenting on the grant, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Acting Director General of ADFD said: "This grant substantiates the strong desire of the Abu Dhabi Government, driven by the directives and direct follow-up of its wise leadership, to extend its commitment to help developing countries in need all over the world. The Emirate is thus contributing to alleviating poverty and human suffering in those countries, and helping them to achieve sustainable development. He pointed out that out of the grant's total funding, Dh 224.29 million (US$61.06 million) will be allocated for the construction of three thermal power generation plants with a total output of 100 MW in the capital city of Conakry, and Dh 106.27 million (US$28.93 million) will be earmarked for the funding a food security project.

Al Suwaidi said: "The positive impact of the projects to be funded by this grant will benefit all the sectors of Guinea's economy. In addition to allowing the Guinean government to provide electricity to many deprived areas and consequently improving the living conditions of their people; the availability of adequate electricity supplies will also directly contribute to the stimulation of economic development, and local and foreign investments. As we know, power shortage is one of the major handicaps to the economic and social development of developing countries in general." The second tranche of the grant amounting to Dh106.27 million will be allocated to funding a vital project that is directly linked to achieving food security in Guinea. The project envisages building and operating infrastructures for the production of a range of agricultural products in general and rice in particular. This will be done through the establishment a number of farms (including experimental farms) and related infrastructure such as facilities that are required to store and distribute food products.

Food security is the top priority in many African countries. The high cost of importing foodstuff from regional and international markets heavily burdens their budgets and limits their accessibility to adequate food supplies.

Furthermore, developing agriculture will allow these countries to cover their domestic needs, export any surpluses to foreign markets and create more job opportunities for the local community.

Al Suwaidi concluded: "The projects to be funded by the grant provided by the Government of Abu Dhabi, is a further proof of the efficient role played by the United Arab Emirates in providing development aid, promoting sustainable growth in developing countries and improving the living conditions of their people. The grant also emphasises UAE's important role as an active member of the international community, in effectively contributing to the alleviation human suffering all over the world." For his part, Kerfalla Yansane, Guinea's Economy and Finance Minister praised the Government of Abu Dhabi's role in solidifying mutual cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Guinea. The Minister expressed his high esteem for the efficient role the Government of Abu Dhabi and the ADFD are playing in promoting development in the Republic of Guinea by funding such vital development projects.

It's worth mentioning, that the activities of the ADFD in the Republic of Guinea started in 1977 when the Fund provided two loans for Dh33.38 million. The first loan was allocated to funding the construction of a clinker mill to increase cement production and support the country's industrial and construction sectors. The second loan was allocated to funding the Labe- Seriba Road in Gounasse City to facilitate the transport of people and goods between Guinea and Senegal. The project was aimed at increasing the accessibility of health, social and educational services to remote areas and promoting trade between Guinea and Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Gambia - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Saif emphasises government's interest in tackling demographic imbalance

Tackling the demographic imbalance demands the joint efforts of all governmental and private sector institutions as well as a balance between the overall development of the country and the national constants which enhance the interests of the nation and nationals and reflect the vision of the top leadership, HH Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The Minister who is also the chairman of the Federal Demographic Council emphasised the government's interest in treating the issue within an institutional framework based on coordination and joint efforts to achieve the planned demographic balance.

Sheikh Saif made his remarks as he chaired the 8th session of the Federal Demographic Council.

He greeted the top leadership of the nation for their interest in treating the issue and for their constant follow-up on said efforts. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


UK Security Sector seeks partnerships in UAE

A team from the United Kingdom Trade '&' Investment Defence and Security Organisation is visiting the Intersec exhibition in Dubai between 15-17 January 2013. Working with the British Security Industry Association, the Fire Industry Association and the British Safety Industry Federation, UKTI DSO will be supporting the 120 UK exhibiting companies, to highlight the UK's security and safety sector capabilities and to identify opportunities for joint ventures between the UAE and UK.

The UK shares information about security and safety capabilities with several countries in the Gulf and UK companies have proven and world-leading security and safety equipment in use with Ministries of Interior and Police Forces across the region. The UK delegation at Intersec hopes to talk to prospective partners and customers about UK best practice linked to law enforcement; counter terrorism; border security; emergency response including Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence; transport security; and commercial security and safety including CCTV.

Simon Everest Head of the UKTI DSO Security Directorate said "Intersec 2013 is an important exhibition to showcase the UK's world-leading security and safety equipment. UK companies are very keen to further develop business relationships with partners in the UAE and across the Gulf. This exhibition is important regionally and we are delighted to have the opportunity to engage with officials from the UAE and more widely to discuss how we can clarify requirements and enhance future cooperation in this sector". - Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE and Serbia sign double taxation agreement

In line with its efforts to enhance economic, trade and tourism ties between the UAE and the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) signed an agreement yesterday to avoid double taxation on income between both countries at the Ministry's headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The Republic of Serbia enjoys a strong financial climate and is known to attract many global investments.

The agreement was signed by Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, and Mladan Dinkic, Minister of Finance and Economy of Serbia, in presence of Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of MoF, the Serbian Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance and the accompanying Serbian delegation.

The agreement includes a range of incentives and tax transaction mechanisms to grant multi-state exemptions on the UAE's investments in both public and private sectors. The agreement also provided export tax exemptions and tax benefits on capital gains. This initiative will contribute to strengthening the partnership between both countries by reducing the operational cost of their investments, especially since the agreement operates according to the principle of applying taxes in the country of residence rather than the source country.

A meeting was held after the signing of the agreement in the presence of the delegations, where they discussed economic and trade relations and methods of developing them to include all areas of common interest, particularly in the area of investments. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


TAQA starts pilot for solar cooling technology in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) and Chromasun Inc. (Chromasun), the California-based solar panel manufacturer, have begun a pilot project for roof-top solar air-conditioning in Abu Dhabi.

TAQA installed 27 Chromasun Micro-Concentrator (MCT) solar panels on the rooftop of Abu Dhabi Transmission '&' Despatch Company (TRANSCO) in Abu Dhabi on 13 January 2012. The concentrated solar panels will provide clean renewable solar energy to the building's air-conditioning system during peak demand hours.

The Chromasun MCT technology is designed specifically for rooftop application and operation in high temperatures and dusty conditions, producing more energy per unit of roof area than many other technologies.

Dr Saif Al Sayari, TAQA's Executive Officer and Head of the Energy Solutions division, commented: "We are delighted to see the Chromasun MCT technology being tested in the UAE. In addition to significant energy savings, roof top solar cooling technology has great potential for peak-shaving which will result in reduced emissions and better grid efficiency." David Copestake, Managing Director of TRANSCO said: "We continuously seek ways to use advanced technology to achieve better efficiency in Abu Dhabi's power generation networks so we are immensely proud and honoured to be participating in such an initiative." TAQA is an investor in Chromasun and currently holds an 8% stake as part of its efforts to develop post-pilot phase alternative energy technologies with breakthrough potential. TAQA and Chromasun will test the technology during the next 16 months with the aim of proving its commercial viability. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Zooming in on renewable energy

The Mayan prophecy about 2012 may have bitten the dust, but more serious folk are predicting profound changes in our lives due to our squandering of natural resources. At the pivot of endeavours to stem the planet’s destruction is the UAE, fuelled by Abu Dhabi’s drive towards sustainability for safeguarding the very environment that has propelled its economic growth to such heights.

Recognising that hydrocarbons, a precious and limited resource necessary to develop a robust economy, is being severely depleted is just one aspect of what the capital is trying to achieve. The other is to focus on safeguarding the limited sources of hydrocarbons available, and the only way to achieve that is through energy efficiency.

The seeds have already been sown with Masdar, launched in Abu Dhabi in 2006 with a mission to advance renewable energy and sustainable technologies. “The UAE believes that by innovating through action, and empowering others through collaborative engagement, we can help support the international movement towards sustainable development. Innovating for a sustainable future lies deep within the UAE’s heritage. Our country’s founders recognised the need to conserve and preserve our resources for succeeding generations,” says Dr Nawal Al Hosani, Director of Sustainability, Masdar.

Today, this legacy of innovation and responsibility serves as the nation’s vision for the future. As an addition to the movement, The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, managed by Masdar, has been launched to be a significant platform for dialogue and international cooperation.

When world leaders and policymakers congregate in the capital this week, the agenda is simple — to pave the way for ushering in a new energy economy — a future where hydrocarbons, renewables and clean technologies complement each other to balance the global supply of energy.

And the singular platform that makes all this possible is the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), which runs from today until Thursday. Dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies, the summit will bring together global leaders in policy, technology, research, finance and business to further the industry debate and agree on genuine collaborations. “In doing this, we are encouraging world leaders and energy experts to address the key issues affecting the future of energy and discuss the needs of the public and private sectors in accelerating the adoption of viable and innovative solutions,” says Naji Al Haddad, Show Director for Reed Exhibitions, the organisers of the summit.

The summit runs as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which is set to welcome more than 30,000 participants from 150 countries for various events including the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) General Assembly, the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit, among others.

Global investment in renewable energy reached US$257 billion (about Dh943.9 billion) in 2011. And, despite the challenging economic conditions, global investment in clean energy totalled US$56.6 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

There is obviously a great need to address these issues on a larger scale. And what better platform can there be than WFES, considered the world’s foremost event for the renewable energy and environment industry. It also forms a key platform in Abu Dhabi’s strategy to contribute to the global challenges of energy security and sustainable development through collaboration, cooperation and convening. “The summit is just one example of how Abu Dhabi implements this strategy and facilitates the international dialogue needed in the search for solutions to these critical global challenges which will flow through to this region,” adds Al Haddad.

The sixth edition of WFES will address issues such as energy access to a growing population of seven billion. Last year, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, chose WFES to announce 2012 as the Year of Sustainable Energy For All. This year crucial topics for discussion will include energy poverty in many regions, rural electrification for communities that are off-grid and rely on renewable energy for power, and the major economic impact that the future energy sector is now having on the global economy including financing (US$257 billion invested in 2011) and jobs (five million in 2011).

We don’t have to go far to realise how critical it is to address the energy needs of nations. A 2012 Gulf Research Centre report highlights that the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company forecasts peak power demand within the capital to rise from 6,885MW in 2010 to 11,200MW by 2015 and reach 15,500MW by 2020, which mirrors the emirate’s population surge of 7.7 per cent per annum from 2005 to 2011.

While the increasing demand in energy supply seems unavoidable, Masdar is contributing significantly to the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy and energy sources.

“Working across the value chain, the company invests in research, clean technology companies and large-scale renewable power projects both here and abroad,” says Al Hosani.

Masdar’s flagship solar power projects in Abu Dhabi are the US$700-million 100MW Shams 1 plant that is considered the largest solar project in the region. In addition, Masdar is an active partner in projects in the UK and Spain, and is investing in clean technology companies across North America, Europe and Asia.

Masdar has also established two clean technology funds with US$540 million under management. Focused on sustainable technologies such as clean energy, water and waste management, battery and energy efficiency technologies, Masdar has made investments in companies across North America, Europe and Asia ranging from US$15 million to US$35 million. – Gulf News


Call for action to double green energy by 2030 at Abu Dhabi summit

Doubling the world's green power output by 2030 - the target set by the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon - is possible but the window for action is closing, a renewable energy summit heard yesterday.

"It is achievable but will require concerted action by all," Dr Adnan Amin, secretary general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, told delegates to IRENA's annual assembly.

At the current rate of progress, renewables will account for 21 per cent of global energy by 2030, leaving a gap of 9 per cent. Nine countries, including the UAE, have appointed national experts to look at ways to close that gap.

The IRENA assembly coincides with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. About 30,000 officials, clean-energy advocates and entrepreneurs are in the capital for the sixth World Future Energy Summit and the International Renewable Energy Conference.

Britain is seeking investment from the UAE and other Arabian Gulf nations to help to finance its £200 billion (Dh1,200 billion) drive towards renewables, the UK energy minister Greg Barker said.

Abu Dhabi's green-energy company Masdar already owns a stake in the London Array, the world's largest offshore wind farm.

"The London Array is just the beginning," Mr Barker said. "I'm delighted at the way the investment relationship … is developing." – The National


Abu Dhabi-based IRENA votes to open an office in New York

The world's green-energy body, based in the capital, is to open an office in New York.

The decision was made yesterday as delegates from 104 countries and the European Union, all members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), approved its work programme for this year.

A total of 579 delegates from 133 countries attended IRENA's third annual assembly, although only members have a say in how the organisation should be run.

The New York office, described in documents as modest, will represent IRENA to important international organisations such as the United Nations, also based in New York.

The office will offer a point of contact with IRENA member states that do not have envoys in Abu Dhabi.

Delegates at the two-day gathering at the St Regis Saadiyat Resort approved a budget of US$29.7 million (Dh109m) for IRENA.

They were briefed on IRENA's progress on preparing a renewable-energy roadmap for 2030.

The document is part of IRENA's contribution to Sustainable Energy for All, launched by the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, which aims to double the share of renewables in the world's energy mix by 2030.

Dr Adnan Amin, IRENA's secretary general, yesterday said renewable energy capacity could be doubled but warned the window for action was small.

"Doubling the share of renewables is achievable but will require concerted action by all," Dr Amin said.

Preliminary findings show that at the current rate, renewable energy will account for 21 per cent of the global energy mix by 2030 - 9 per cent short of the goal set.

To close the gap, infrastructure would have to grow by 150 gigawatts a year, compared with a growth of 110 in 2011.

Work on the project, Remap 2030, is continuing this year with IRENA asking members for information about their renewable-energy plans and projections.

Ultimately, the organisation wants to see the difference between countries' plans and their actions. It aims to bring together experts and policymakers to chart the way.

The goal, IRENA said yesterday, was attainable but adoption rates must increase significantly for it to be met.

Nine countries, including the UAE, have appointed national experts to join the effort. IRENA is aiming to make the plan publicly available in the future.

The organisation also presented a prototype of an annual report on the renewables sector, which aims to outline barriers to adopting clean power and opportunities where "investment can make a key difference", Dr Amin said.

The report will seek to offer governments and investors advice on renewable technologies and policies, identify innovation and point out emerging issues that are likely to be major influences on renewable energy in future.

The document was not publicly disclosed as it is still to be presented to expert consultants. A first edition of it is to be unveiled officially at IRENA's fourth assembly next year.

The IRENA assembly coincides with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which opens today. About 30,000 officials, clean-energy advocates and entrepreneurs are expected in the capital this week for the sixth World Future Energy Summit and the International Renewable Energy Conference.

For the first time, water management will also be a key part of the discussions through the International Water Summit.

Leaders such as Queen Rania of Jordan, Francois Hollande, president of France, and Cristina de Kirchner, president of Argentina, are expected to speak at the opening of the summit. – The National


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