The Middle east beginning to shake off its Oily Image

About 40 years ago the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was born and the Middle Eastern countries really started raking in money from the oil that people had found in the previous 40 years. Ever since, countries have looked at the Middle Eastern nations for their massive demand of Oil and Oil products. The Image of Rich spoilt boys from Oil money roaming around the streets with Rolls Royce and Lamborghini’s was formed by all the expatriates in these countries who came looking for some of it.

The image of the middle east has been completely marked with Oil money and expansive behaviours, so much so that nations in the middle east used that OIL money to bring in more people from around the world to live in their nations, and in the process make the desert a place to have millions of people, all in all increasing their carbon footprints. As a matter of fact the United Arab Emirates where I live supposedly has the largest carbon footprint of all the nations in the world per person.

So much about the dark side, the brighter side is that the baby boomer generation in these countries are coming into decision making places and they are making the right decisions in changing the image of the middle east in general. From Abu Dhabi’s most talked about Masdar project which I had the fortune to work on (A small part) right up until visionary projects all across the middle east that are in the pipeling and will change the future of the Middle east from an Oil Powered nations to renewable energy nations.


For all those guys who would like to see proof here are some of the projects that are in progress in the Middle east that will really make a difference .. soon :


The world’s first city that aims at negative carbon emission is one of the most awesome entries in this list. Masdar, in Abu Dhabi has the potential to not only show was to the rest of the Middle East and the World, but also with its initiatives like the Masdar University and Sheikh Zayed Future Energy Prize they might just give gems of renewable energy as well as sustainability lessons to the world.

Desertec / Dii

Dii is a unique private industry joint venture that was launched as the ‘Desertec Industrial Initiative’ in July 2009. Desertec / Dii  activities focus on power generation from the sun and wind in the deserts of the MENA countries and transmission to local demand and partly to the European interconnected grid. Dii will objectively investigate and identify suitable technologies for power generation and transmission. As a consequence, all field-proven, feasible technologies for sun and wind energy conversion and long-distance power transmission will be candidates for selection. This would for instance include CSP and PV technologies, AC and DC transmission and also different concepts for wind power. Dii aim at facilitating and encouraging investments in the framework of the Desertec concept, including knowledge transfer to the MENA area and the establishment of local industries.

Algerian SonelGaz

The Algerian government had decided instead to develop its own flagship solar project. Algeria will do more with solar and expects to make a new town which is completely [powered by] solar electricity. To this end, the state-owned gas and power utility Sonelgaz would install 365 megawatts of solar power capacity between 2013 and 2020. The company planned to install the first 10mw of solar capacity in 2013 and to increase that to 50mw the following year. Sonelgaz planned to spend US$3.3 billion (Dh12.11bn) this year on expanding Algeria’s total power generation capacity and gas distribution network in order to ease energy shortages during peak demand periods.

Bharain Wind-Solar Pilot Power Project

Bahrain will announce next month the winner of a contract to advise on a pilot renewable energy power plant for the kingdom. As well as advising on the pilot project, the selected bider will conduct a feasibility and assessment study for renewable energy technology in Bahrain. The pilot facility is aimed at practical research to further the development of commercial projects. It is expected to be a hybrid wind and solar plant and it will be located on an island.

Millennium Energy Company in Jordan

Millennium Energy Industries, the Jordanian renewable energy developer, has taken the first step towards realising one of three solar projects planned for the Maan Development Area in Jordan’s southern desert. It has teamed up with the US engineering firm CH2M Hill to launch a feasibility study for a utility-scale concentrating solar power plant (CSP) proposed for the Maan Industrial Estate. The study would be funded by the US Trade Development Agency and would address the plant’s technical and economic viability, the companies said. It would also define an implementation strategy in partnership with Jordan’s government and other organisations. Although the technology has been proved on a commercial scale, only 679 megawatts of capacity had been installed worldwide last year, but  another 2,000mw was under construction. Not much of that was in Jordan, or anywhere else within the Middle East.

Last Word

Being in a position to not only produce for the local market but also export technology and knowhow is going to be the next Oil race. So, the renewable energy seems to be the correct direction to go for the Middle East Oil Giants. Interestingly, this is might be a renewal of the Middle East into nations that might just help the world rather than kill it with the carbon footprints.

Made in China now cutting edge – Fully Solar powered AC

There used to be a time when Made in China used to be treated as a curse than a good thing, having said that Manufacturers still flocked to China due to its low production costs, low labour costs and an industry friendly government. The Government in China provided so many avenues for the manufacturers and industries that people will still flock there despite any bad image the cheaper Chinese products will have to offer.  I guess being on a high profile project in the Middle East, the shift is quite certainly visible. On the Project that I am working on, the guidelines of the client are clear about the country of origin, manufacturers only from North America, Western Europe, Japan are allowed to provide products for the project.

However, in the last three years it is getting increasingly difficult to find reputed manufacturers that still procure, manufacture and ship their products from the mentioned countries. Almost all of them seem to have some part of the process in China. So much so, that companies like CISCO do not produce some key products in the United States, they are manufactured in China or Mexico. The centres of the world are changing. Adding to the woes of my client, new cutting edge technology is now coming out of China and that might not be available anywhere else in the world, like this, the Fully Solar Powered Air Conditioning.

For anyone that lives in a country with a warm climate, air conditioning is an essential piece of technology making the most stuffy home or office comfortable to work in. Unfortunately powering such units often causes large energy bills for consumers and companies and generates a sizable carbon footprint. Not cool! Luckily, China, who is rapidly becoming the world’s leader in renewable energy development and knows all about warmer summers and freezing winters, has just unveiled the world’s first air conditioned unit powered by solar energy.

Developed by a company called Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning Co., Ltd, the solar powered air-con unit could save companies and home owners not only masses of money but also reduce their carbon emissions, and we all know that China needs the later more, after the fogs during the Olympic Games.  Showcased at the World Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Development Forum, the solar-powered air conditioning unit boasts an optimal 85% thermal cooling conversion efficiency, with an ability to utilize to 27 times the amount of solar power than the average water heating unit uses. The Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning unit also allows for 24-hour continuous cooling, heating, and supply of hot water, while natural gas can be used as a supplemental energy supply, so during periods of poor sunshine, heating and cooling can still be provided. This should be quite rare however as in terms of solar power.

India also has a similar geographic and can benefit from this Solar marvel. The biggest place it will make an impact is most certainly the middle east. Since I just read that people in the UAE have the highest carbon footprint in the world.


After Sharjah Blackouts, are Dubai and Abu Dhabi far behind ?

It is one of the biggest issues worldwide, electricity shortage. There are parts of India that have had these issues for a very long time. I remember Mangalore used to be without electricity for close to 8 – 10 hours a day. However, I have never really faced it here in Dubai, there was never a day without electricity. Oh wait there was this blackout in Jul 2005, I remember but for a few hours, caused a whole load of chaos. But otherwise there has not really been an issue with electricity.

Off late, Sharjah, the neighboring emirate to Dubai has had major issues with the blackouts, there have been major complaints from the residents that this blackout during the summer time is really bad. With the financial situation in the region and the country in general being difficult how is this going to effect Dubai and Abu Dhabi; the two biggest emirates with Sharjah. Dubai in general seems to be the place with the biggest issues out of the two.

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