Shedding Light on Solar Energy Power Starts In the week preceding ‘10/10/10’ the Friends of the Environment

(FOE) showed their commitment to cut carbon emissions by inviting Mr. Ben Figgis, the External Affairs and Technology Advisor at Chevron, Qatar, to talk to the group about ‘Solar Energy in Qatar’. The significance being that 10 October 2010 (10-10-10) has been chosen so that worldwide people can creatively celebrate a ‘Global Work Party’ to show our commitment to cut carbon emissions. The international awareness campaign is spearheaded by an organization called This group was founded by Bill McKibben, a reputed environmentalist and writer, to put special emphasis on the number 350 because – supposedly – 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit for the presence of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. On 17 February 2009 the Chevron Corporation made a commitment of US$ 20 million over five years to establish a center of excellence in renewable power and energy efficiency in partnership with the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) in Doha. One of the main objectives of the partnership is the creation of a public centre. Chevron's Center for Sustainable Energy Efficiency at QSTP will connect with a variety of audiences in Qatar. Professional engineers, architects and government agencies will see demonstrations and tests of energy efficiency and solar technologies. Students and the public will be invited to our visitor center to learn about the technologies and how they work. Qatar's Deputy Premier & Minister of Energy and Industry, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said, "I am very pleased to welcome Chevron's Center for Sustainable Energy Efficiency to QSTP in Qatar, and we look forward to a long partnership with Chevron. Establishment of this Center greatly enhances our ability to utilize Chevron's expertise and leadership in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in the future, and for training Qatari engineers and scientists". According to the Chevron Vice Chairman Peter Robertson, "Chevron believes that energy efficiency and conservation are the most immediate and cost-effective sources of new energy, and we are proud to work in partnership with Qatar to help achieve environmentally responsible development and economic diversification - two important elements of Qatar's National Vision." He added that, "By bringing Chevron's global expertise in energy efficiency and renewable power to this premier center for research, learning and entrepreneurship, we can identify specific energy technologies that work well in the region's desert climate and develop capabilities within the country that ultimately will benefit Qatar and the entire region." According to the press release issued by the company the partnership with QSTP will create ‘The Center for Sustainable Energy Efficiency’, which intends to focus on developing technologies in lighting and cooling that work effectively in the Middle East climate. The centre also anticipates conducting research in the development and application of renewable power, such as solar, and developing and training

Qatari engineers, scientists and students to build expertise and capabilities within the country. Dr. Tidu Maini, Advisor to HH Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned and executive chairman of QSTP, added: "Finding smarter ways of using energy is no less important in Qatar than in the rest of the world. By taking a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to energy research, Chevron's QSTP center will help position Qatar at the forefront of environmental technologies globally." Through demonstration and education at the Center for Sustainable Energy Efficiency, and through solar field trials in collaboration with GreenGulf and QSTP, we will help to build confidence and understanding of the most promising technologies. The most common association that we make when thinking about solar energy is: solar panels. However, solar energy is a term for describing a range of methods for obtaining energy from the sun. Solar energy is successfully being used for cooling, heating, cooking, communications, driving space craft, lighting and many more purposes. That Chevron and QSTP have gone into partnership to investigate the possibility of harnessing solar energy in the seemingly sun drenched gulf country may seem obvious but there are some basic challenges in the use and conversion of solar energy. Dr. Maini, further elaborated that, "In order to commercialize solar technologies and realize their full potential, we must carefully understand the environmental effects such as dust, humidity, and radiation patterns. From this we can build realistic cost parameters based on actual Qatar conditions.” Chevron's Center for Sustainable Energy Efficiency at QSTP will be opening within a few months, and the solar test facility will come on line in the second half of 2011. In the meantime Chevron has built hundreds of solar installations in the US, and is testing thin-film photovoltaics on a large scale in California, so we are leveraging this experience to plan and accelerate our Qatar research. According to GreenGulf the solar test facility that is being built in the QSTP will be 35000 sq/m, the same as the solar test facility in Bakers Field, United States of America, and this is where the photovoltaic (PV) units will be tested, thermal power sources, air conditioning and desalination technologies. According to the managing director of the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corp – otherwise known as Kahramaa - Issa Hilal al-Kuwari, speaking at the power generation conference and exhibition held in Qatar recently, Qatar has witnessed a 230 percent increase in demand for electricity over the last decade. Speaking at the conference he further said that, “Electricity generation rose by more than 340 percent in the last 10 years and currently it stands at 7643mw. Next year, the targeted output is 8761 mw. Al Kuwari expects electricity generation to increase in Qatar by 10.5 percent, said al-Kuwari. Kahramaa announced that it now has a power surplus and has budgeted QR 15 bn to spend over the next 3 years on additional electricity and water projects. According to a Gulf Times article, Fahad al-Mohannadi, Kahramaa’s managing director announced in an interview with Reuters, that there are plans to build a power

plant that is to be used from 2016 onwards that will be able to generate upwards of 3000 megawatts of electricity. The targeted output of 8761 mw is in line with the expected increase in demand that is projected to increase from the current 5,100 mw to 8,800 MW by 2011, according to Kahramaa’s website. What does this all have to do with solar energy you might ask? According to one of the audience members who was part of a research team at a Local university one of the of the main factors in the slow adoption of the solar energy technology is that electricity generation in Qatar, and the Gulf region, relies on fossil fuels. According to some 2001 statistics, electricity production by source was: 100 % from fossil fuel and 0% from other sources like hydro, nuclear, solar and others. With the fossil fuels cheaply and of course easily available in the Gulf region the need and urgency to use alternative energy sources seems unnecessarily complicated as the solar power technology comes with its own set of variables. Ongoing research shows that because of dust, moisture, heat and the actual quality of the light, solar power generation is not efficient in the Qatar, and the larger Gulf region, even while the price of (PV) solar units have gone down. A company called Solar First now produces PV units that will cost you less than US$ 1 per watt produced. What is also encouraging the solar energy sector is that there is a projected demand of electricity of 15 GW globally which means a huge demand for alternative energy generation technologies. Similarly, desalinated water production would reach 320mn gallons a days in 2012, from the current level of 264mn gallons. It represents a 24% growth in the production. Later, Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) general manager Fahd alMohannadi said privatisation had contributed considerably to the increase in electricity and water production in the country. In conclusion, solar energy is becoming critically important to industrially developed and developing countries as the use of the limited supply of fossil fuels presents a serious environmental challenge, with its effects of global warming and pollution. Ends Words: 1,255

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