Week in the Middle East: NBB Plans To Instal Solar in Branches; Increase in Supply of Clean Hydrogen by the Middle East and More

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National Bank of Bahrain Plans To Instal Solar in Branches

National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) Group announced that it will install solar panels across the territory as an undertaking of a new initiative on select branches of NBB and Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB). This initiative is expected to be rolled out in Q1 2022. The solar panels will be installed at four different branches which are NBB’s Istiqlal and Riffa Souq branches, BisB’s Hamad Town and Arad branches. This will be completed in six months.

The total capacity of the installed panel’s measures 373KW, generating a combined 605,700 kWh of energy annually, saving up to 65% of power at some of the branches. This will serve to diminish the overall Group’s carbon footprint by declining nearly 300 Tonnes of CO2 every year, meanwhile also optimizing energy consumption and costs. NBB Group aims to create awareness of such leading causes of air and water pollution, which are endangering human life.

Increase in Supply of Clean Hydrogen by the Middle East

According to a World Energy Council report titled ‘Hydrogen on the Horizon: ready, almost set, go?’, as countries are exploring different ways to decarbonize, interest is surging in clean hydrogen around the world. Also, by 2050, the global energy consumption of hydrogen could be around 6% and 25%. In July 2021, Saudi Arabia disclosed its plan for a green hydrogen facility of $5 billion, which is the world’s greatest project. Countries like Oman, the UAE, and Egypt (Middle East countries) earlier also announced their projects to increase the demand.

But the concern lies in the prices of low-carbon hydrogen which as compared to other energy sources is still higher which is a challenge. The report further said that various countries have several ways of utilization of clean hydrogen and suggested countries to work together in order to create a global value chain and open the myriads of possibilities of hydrogen for the world economy.

Energy Reduction by 2030 in Saudi Arabia Worth $6.6 Billion

In an interview, the CEO Waled Alghreri of Tarshid said that they plan to reduce energy consumption in Saudi Arabia by $6.6 billion by 2030 with Saudi Energy Efficiency Program (SEEP). Tarshid was inaugurated to pioneer energy efficiency in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in Saudi Arabia. Its services comprise retrofitting buildings and street-lighting and it also fosters the use of renewable energy, including rooftop solar PV. The CEO said its Energy Efficiency Program is a rare example of a country creating a dedicated, integrated initiative to target energy efficiency.

Energy Transition in Middle East Region

According to the MEED Insights’s report, in the H1 of 2021, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries were given $2.8 billion renewable energy projects in comparison to no contract given for gas or oil-fueled power stations. Between 2017 to 2020, the average value of contract awards for gas or oil-fueled power stations was $4.8 billion every year. In 2020, $6.2 billion were awarded to these stations. Now, the goal is reducing emissions and using more renewables in the MENA region.

With 21 GW of hydropower, MENA has a renewable energy capacity of 28 gigawatts (GW) installed. Now UAE and Saudi Arabia who are giant oil producers and exporters are planning to install solar power capacity in the future. In particular, tapping the region’s abundant supply of low-cost solar energy to sustainably produce green hydrogen from water is generating huge interest from governments and investors.

Waste to Energy Plants by UAE to Burn Trash

The UAE is planning to burn around two-thirds of its trash to build waste incinerators for dealing with the problem of waste. According to Bloomberg, one of the largest waste-to-energy facilities in the world is being built in Dubai of worth $1.1 billion, a smaller one in Sharjah and this will start operating this year. Also, two more projects are being built in Abu Dhabi.

UAE plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and burning trash will cause carbon emissions for which achieving the country’s goal will become difficult. Sharjah’s waste company, Bee’ah, is trying to lessen the effect by creating green spaces by installing a 120-MW solar array on top of the plant and produce hydrogen from the garbage to fuel its rubbish trucks. Reusing plastics and other waste is quite challenging while environmentalists favor recycling rather than burning trash.

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