19 JAN 2017

Masdar and Bee’ah to build 300,000 tonne waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah

Cutting-edge facility will produce 30MW of total energy from municipal solid waste 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 18, 2017: Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is to develop a cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah in partnership with Bee’ah, the Middle East’s leading and award-winning environmental management company, it was announced today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017.

Diverting as much as 300,000 tonnes of solid waste from landfill each year, the project will help Sharjah reach its “zero waste-to-landfill” target by 2020 – and the UAE deliver on its 2021 goal of diverting 75 per cent of solid waste from landfills.

Masdar and Bee’ah signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the development of new energy projects at ADSW 2016. The facility will incinerate up to 37.5 tonnes of solid waste per hour to generate 30 megawatts (MW) of energy. This will add more power to what is produced by Bee’ah’s auxiliary waste-to-energy project, which will eventually produce a total of 90 MW supplied to the Sharjah electricity grid.

Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah, said: “Today marks the first venture in the realisation of the partnership that we announced with Masdar last year. The cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah is a concrete example of what this strategic partnership will deliver to the UAE and the communities that we serve. We, at Bee’ah, have always been driven by our mission to make the UAE an icon of environmental best practices, and this plant will help us achieve our ambitious environmental goals for the Emirate.

“The agreement signed today will lead to more projects and bold initiatives that will help the partnership to ensure a sustainable and green future for the UAE.”

Established in 2007, Bee’ah collects approximately 2.3 million tonnes of waste from nearly one million households in Sharjah each year, diverting around 70 per cent of its collected waste to its recycling waste management facilities from landfill.

“As one of the leading renewable energy developers in the Middle East and North Africa, we are proud to enter into a partnership with Bee’ah that will both diversify our clean energy portfolio and help commercialise sustainable solutions to Sharjah’s and the UAE’s waste management challenges,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

“With GCC countries having among the highest rates of per-capita waste production in the world, sustainable waste management solutions are both critically important and a clear business opportunity. Masdar will combine its proven expertise in renewable energy project development over the last ten years with Bee’ah’s track record in environmentally responsible waste management, to deliver a project that will catalyse further investment in waste-to-energy infrastructure in the UAE and beyond.”

Masdar’s Clean Energy division is a leading developer and owner of utility-scale, grid-connected projects; remote applications providing energy access to communities away from the electricity grid; and carbon abatement projects. Since 2006, Masdar has invested in renewable energy projects with a combined value of US$8.5 billion; Masdar’s share of these projects is US$2.7 billion.

Masdar’s renewable energy projects span the UAE, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, Serbia and Spain. The electricity generating capacity of these projects, which are either fully developed or under development, is 2.7 gigawatts (GW) gross.

Elsewhere in the UAE, Masdar is adopting waste management best practices in the development of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments. Its on-site construction waste management demonstration project reuses and recycles waste building materials from the City’s construction, including metal, plastic, wood and construction aggregate.

19 JAN 2017

Lessons from So Paulo on integrating sustainability and economic growth

João Carlos de Souza Meirelles, Secretary for Energy and Mining to the State Government of São Paulo, Brazil 

The Brazilian energy matrix is predominantly renewable due to the major participation of hydropower in electricity supply and the importance of ethanol as an alternative fuel to gasoline for light engines. In the state of São Paulo, besides biofuel production, sugar cane biomass has a meaningful role in electricity cogeneration dispatched to the national grid. The share of renewable sources in the state’s energy matrix –hydropower included – in 2015 was roughly 58% while the national figure was about 41.8%.

At this month’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, I will be sharing the many lessons we have learnt in São Paulo and my country as a whole as we move towards a low-carbon economy.

From 1970 to 2014, the national power capacity increased from 11 gigawatts (GW) to 133.9GW, with a growth rate of 5.8% per annum, higher than the GDP growth rate of 3.8% pa[1]. The participation of hydropower prevailed, ranging from 87.4% in 1996 to 67% in 2014. Nuclear generation began in 1985 and wind generation in 1992. Hydro began to retreat from 1999. The São Paulo state’s participation in national hydropower supply, besides that of Minas Gerais state, underpinned the national industrialisation process from the 1950’s to the 1970’s.

While the state’s relative participation in national hydropower decreased, its participation in biomass generation and biofuels – basically ethanol – dramatically increased. The total capacity of electricity generation in São Paulo (2016) is approximately 22.7GW, corresponding to about 15.2% of the 149.7GW national capacity. For hydropower, the São Paulo state’s capacity is roughly 14.5GW or 15.9% of the 91.5GW nationally available. For biomass co-generation, the present capacity in São Paulo is 5.8GW, or 41.1% of the 14.1GW national capacity.

For biofuels – essentially ethanol – São Paulo produced around 6.4Mm3 of anhydrous and 8.15Mm3 of hydrated ethanol in 2015, against approximately 11.3Mm3 and 19Mm3 nationally. A trade-off between sugar and ethanol must be considered in the short term, since ethanol production tends to decrease when the world sugar market overheats, especially when prices of fossil fuels are low.

In 2009 the State of São Paulo passed its Policy on Climate Change law, and in 2011, the first version of the São Paulo Energy Plan to 2020. This plan has targeted renewable sources to reach 69% of the energy mix by 2020. The set targets have since been revised, since in the context of an economic recession, the higher marginal costs of renewable supplies imply lower growth in their relative participation in the energetic mix.

While investment in the expansion of hydropower used to be mostly state-based, thanks to state-owned companies such as CESP in São Paulo, investment in biomass cogeneration and biofuel production, as well as in other renewable sources, is mostly private.

New challenges for expanding renewable sources involve not only the direct investment in generation but also the connections to the regional and national grid. Renewable electricity is not economically competitive at the moment with conventional sources. Widespread distributed generation then emerges as a valid alternative, since the extra costs are compensated by direct supply beyond the grid.

The São Paulo State policy on energy combines different approaches to promote direct private investment in renewable sources and the expansion of power supply from natural gas – to help realise a greater share of renewable energy in the energy matrix as a whole.

With regard to regulation, the main challenge has been to integrate state strategies with the national regulatory systems of electricity and oil & gas and, more generally, the regulated branches of networked services with environmental regulation.

19 JAN 2017

Second annual Student Exclusive gives youth a voice on sustainability

UAE and international students gather for talks, performances and presentations at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 19, 2017 – More than 600 students from the UAE and countries around the world took part in the second annual “Student Exclusive” at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) on Wednesday. Now a signature event of ADSW, the Student Exclusive is focused on empowering young people to think and act sustainably.

His Excellency Dr Ahmed Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, delivered the event’s keynote address, describing the Student Exclusive as integral to the success of ADSW.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem, by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Commenting on the success of the Student Exclusive, Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, also stressed the need for young people to take responsibility.

“The Student Exclusive is a platform that puts youth opinions at its core,” she said. “If we can empower young people to see how sustainability affects every aspect of their lives, then we can also empower them to be future advocates of sustainability.”

This year’s Student Exclusive was held on the theme “Creating a sustainable future by empowering young minds”.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Moderated by Khalid Al Ameri, a prominent UAE national journalist and social media influencer, and fellow Emirati Waheeda Al Hadhrami, Creative Talent Developer at TwoFour54, this year’s event hosted a diversity of young talent, who shared their own distinct perspective on adopting sustainable behaviour.

The Student Exclusive welcomed calligrapher Diaa Allam, pianist Mona Alhashmi, futurist Lina Nahhas, musicians “G-beat”, parkour coach Amal Murad, artist Hessa Al Ajmani, and singer Khalifa Nasser.

Hasan Al Redaini, the UAE’s representative to Solar Impulse 2, the first aircraft to circumnavigate the world powered only by solar energy, and two previous student winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize – from Cashmere High School in New Zealand and the Korean Science Academy of KAIST – also presented to the Student Exclusive audience.

The Student Exclusive also featured a presentation by Fatema Al Mulla, Marketing Executive at Masdar, on the findings of The Masdar Gen Z Global Sustainability Survey, the first global study of youth attitudes towards sustainability, renewable energy and climate change; a talk by Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Director of the Animal Health & Development Department at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on “The natural world and sustainability”; and a presentation on the sustainability narrative of Expo 2020 by Alya Al-Ali, Director for Youth, Expo 2020.

The final community awareness event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will be The Festival at Masdar City on January 20-21. Open to the public, The Festival will host sustainability-themed games and activities, live entertainment and food stalls.

21 JAN 2017

The Festival at Masdar City takes sustainability into the community for fourth straight year

Abu Dhabi, UAE; January 21, 2017 – The Festival at Masdar City attracted its biggest crowds ever as this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week drew to a successful close this weekend.

Visitors enjoyed a fun-packed weekend of family-themed games, activities and live entertainment, as well as stalls selling arts, handicrafts and souvenirs, and delicious food and treats.

A sustainability message ran through all the attractions, and this year’s Festival also celebrated 2017 as the UAE’s “Year of Giving”.

Launched in 2014, the Festival at Masdar City promotes community awareness of sustainability and the adoption of more sustainable behaviour.

This year’s event also marked the launch of Masdar Park, an outdoor dining destination with outlets housed inside recycled shipping containers powered by solar panels. Open until April, the Park features a recycled musical instrument wall and a bicycle-powered cinema – it is also the starting point for a new 2.6km-long cycle and running track.

Activities at The Festival this year were divided into 10 different zones reflecting the 10th anniversary of Masdar in 2016 (and the 10th world future energy summit).

“It was a pleasure to see so many UAE residents join us for the fourth Festival at Masdar City; without doubt, it was the biggest yet,” said Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director for Sustainability & Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

“Each year the Festival proves that sustainability can be fun, and that it is easy to incorporate into our everyday lives,” she added. “Masdar City is the ideal venue to take the sustainability message into the community. And with the Masdar Park now up and running, we hope to welcome even more visitors to Masdar City in the months ahead.”

The Festival marks the end of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017. This year’s event featured the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, the seventh General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) the ninth Zayed Future Energy Prize and the tenth World Future Energy Summit. A global platform for renewable energy policy and business, ADSW 2017 saw a 35% increase in exhibitors and a 19% rise in attendees compared to last year.