BP foretells that renewable growth will surpass that of fossil fuels

According to BP PLC (BP/) wind power, solar electricity and biofuels consumption will experience a much faster growth during the next 20 years than the demand for fossil fuels; the driving force behind this is that nations are seeking to meet rising energy needs without adding to their carbon emissions.

During BP’s annual outlook the company said that global renewables consumption will increase by 8.2 per cent a year through to 2030, outperforming the annual increase of 2.1 per cent gain for natural gas, which is said to be the fastest-growing fossil fuel, as the total energy demand for power, transport and heating is predicted to expand by 1.6 per cent every year.

BP explained, “The growth of global energy consumption is increasingly being met by non-fossil fuels,” “Renewables, nuclear and hydro together account for 34 per cent of the growth; this aggregate non-fossil contribution is, for the first time, larger than the contribution of any single fossil fuel.”

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, new investment in renewable energy has increased to a record $260 billion in 2011 compared to the $243 billion in 2010, which was the first year that new money rolled into wind and solar generation and beat funds for new oil-, coal- and gas-fired output. Governments all around the globe have subsidized the extension of cleaner power production in order to satisfy energy demand while curtailing polluting emissions.

“It is in the power sector where the greatest changes in the fuel mix are expected, renewables, nuclear and hydroelectric should account for more than half the growth in power generation.” BP also said.

BP, whom is Europe’s largest oil producer after Royal Dutch Shell Plc, told their staff during 2011 that it is extiting from the solar power industry after 40 years, reason being that it’s no longer profitable. The company’s solar division will be wound down over several months, BP Solar Chief Executive Officer Mike Petrucci said in an internal letter in December 2011.

According to the company, this exit will have no influence on BP’s other renewable-energy units.  BP has been expanding its biofuels business, and in September 2011 it said it spent $96 million on two Brazilian sugar-cane processors.

They furthermore stated that biofuels will account for about 7 per cent of energy use for transport by 2030. Biofuels and other renewables combined will make up about 6.3 per cent of total energy consumption in 2030, up from 1.8 per cent in 2010.


Biomass has the potential to surpass other renewable energy sources

The chief executive of a Pakistani non-governmental organisation (NGO) stated at the World Future Energy Summit 2012 in Abu Dhabi, that Biomass has a far greater potential to become an affordable source of renewable energy compared to solar and wind.

 

Hadi Husani, CEO of Aga Khan Planning and Building Service (AKPBS) in Pakistan said in an email interview  “Approximately 2.4 billion people, generally the world’s poorest, rely directly upon biomass for their heating and cooking needs and this number is expected to increase to 2.7 billion in 2030”

Khan Planning and Building Service has been for the Zayed Future Energy Prize, this is a result of the company’s effort to create sustainable and energy-efficient communities.

Hadi Husani carried on by explaining that a major challenge is that an enormous amount of communities, predominantly in the developing world do not have access to energy. The lack of clean, reliable and sustainable sources of energy has wide-reaching consequences — mainly economic and developmental — for these communities

He explained that the energy access is a crucial building block for these vulnerable parts of society and addressing the issue can potentially alleviate a lot more than fuel shortages.

As worldwide demand for energy continues to increase dramatically over the coming decade; access to and use of energy will play a major role in determining the maintenance and enhancement of quality of life, and there are political and security implications closely-associated with declining standards of quality of life, he said.

Zayed Future Energy Prize’s Jury assessed 13 shortlisted candidates in 2012 with the objective of selecting five finalists, who will win a total of $3.5 million (Dh12.8 million). The awards will be revealed at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on the side-lines of the World Future Energy Summit that will be held from 16 January to 19 January 2012.

Husani said AKPBS has made significant strides in introducing sustainable energy and environmental stewardship to the mountain communities of northern Pakistan.

“Through our interventions, we have been able to bring our sustainable solutions to hundreds of thousands of the most marginalised and the most impacted by climate change,” he said.

“If we were to win the final prize, we will use the resources and the prestige as a vehicle to bring together some of the leaders in the development of sustainable and energy efficient products from the private sector and the development sector,” Husani said.


A greener start to the year with the 2012 bioenergy scheme for willow and miscanthus

The launch of the 2012 Bioenergy Scheme was announced by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the scheme grants aid toward the planting of Willow and Miscanthus crops as part of the re-opening of a range of Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Measures.

The Bioenergy Scheme has been providing support to the planting of over 3,000 hectares of energy crops since 2007.

“The 2012 scheme will consolidate the progress made since 2007 in developing the energy crops sector in Ireland and has the potential to support in the region of 1,400 additional hectares in 2012.”  During the announcement of the 2012 Scheme, the Minister said.

He further explained. “The scheme is now open for applications and interested farmers can apply for establishment grants of up to €1,300 per hectare to cover 50% of the costs of establishing these crops”.

“I have decided to amend the terms and conditions of the scheme so that participants are no longer required to maintain the crop for seven years as a condition of receiving grant-aid.” As stated by Minister Coveney

He furthermore clarified. “I think that the removal of this condition should help to make the scheme more attractive to farmers without reducing their commitment to establishing and properly managing the crop once they make the planting investment. Taken together with the anticipated boost to demand from the proposed REFIT tariffs for biomass, I am confident that the scheme in 2012 will lead to increased interest from farmers who wish to become involved in energy crop production”.

The closing date for the submission of applications for the pre-planting approval was Wednesday 18th January 2012.

The Department of Agriculture’s website provide complete details of the scheme; however all proposed planting must receive prior written pre-planting approval from the Department.

Details that need to be given attention are that all applications will be arranged by already existent farming systems, the suitability of the proposed sites, particularly, proof  that displays the applicant has linkages with end-users to utilize the biomass crop as a source of bioenergy, as in the current climate it is essential to have a suitable market with guaranteed returns.


German airline concludes biofuel trial

German airline Lufthansa will be concluding its six – month biofuel trial with its first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight, between Frankfurt and Washington DC.
Lufthansa acknowledged that the future of their biofuel programme depends on their capability to source enough sustainable jet biofuels.

The Boeing 747-400 will be leaving towards Frankfurt bound for Washington DC and will carry a fuel mix of around 40 tonnes of a biosynthetic fuel. The airline predicts that this will reduce CO2 emissions by 38 tonnes; this is approximately equal to six scheduled flights between Frankfurt and Berlin. The company also stated that it is just as reliable as conventional as jet fuel and has, in fact, a higher energy density which allows fuel consumption to be reduced by over 1%.

The January 2012 flight appears to be the last turn in this successful trial, that has led to 1,187 Lufthansa domestic flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg using a 50/50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene in one of the plane’s engines.

Lufthansa has applauded the trial as a triumph. From mid-July to the end of December 2011it used up 1,566 tonnes of bio-kerosene mix, saving approximately 1,471 tonnes of CO2. The company advised that the higher energy density of biofuels resulted in a reduced fuel consumption by more than one per cent during flights, while the fuel also proved to be free of polluting sulphur and aromatic compounds.

“Our burnFAIR project went off smoothly and to our fullest satisfaction,” said Joachim Buse, vice president of aviation biofuel at Lufthansa.

“As expected, biofuel proved its worth in daily flight operations,” Buse added.

“As a next step, we will focus on the suitability, availability, sustainability and certification of raw materials,” he said. “However, Lufthansa will only continue the practical trial if we are able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations.”

Airlines all over the world are under extreme pressure to cut on emissions due to unstable oil prices and their inclusion into the EU’s emissions trading scheme.


A positive 2012 outlook for Dubai property market

The Dubai Land Department has presented figures that have shown a substantial increase in sales, when analysing the numbers from 2011 property transactions.

In total, Dubai realised 35,297 deals in 2011 alone, representing a 16% increase. Dubai’s property market conditions also show some improvement in all aspects, as spending on products that are related to property increased by 20 per cent from 2010 to 2011, these are products such as; property sales, mortgages, ijarah, mortgage portfolios and deferred sales.

Additionally the value of all the deals that were processed in 2011 has increased. In 2010 $33.4 billion was spent on Dubai property, whereas this amplified to $38.9 billion in 2011 – an increase of 14%.

The Department also stated that in terms of the breakdown of these sales, 78.98% of all the property transactions were for flats or apartments.

“The transactions’ quantity, quality and procedures reflect the recovery and growth of the real estate market in Dubai due to the direct support from the local government that spared no effort to achieve market’s stability and growth, enhance the attractiveness of real estate investment along with boosting the confidence of investors.”

Industry experts all stated reasons that resulted in the elevation of Dubai’s property market, highlighting a number of these positive factors;

Vineet Kumar, Head of Business Development at Asteco said

“Financing has remained tough since the property downtown began in the third quarter of 2008 but sentiment has improved as banks began to offer more attractive mortgage rates this year. The government’s declaration that property buyers in Dubai will be given a visa for three years instead of just six months will also help boost investor confidence. Transaction levels have also risen as job security and increased market confidence result in people seeking tenancy upgrades and home ownership,”

In a statement to Zawya Dow Jones Emaar predicted that 2012 will see further positive growth throughout Dubai’s property market. Emaar is one of Dubai leading property developers and the creator of the World’s tallest building.

“Dubai has effectively restructured its economy, following the challenges of the global financial crisis, and is now steadily consolidating its fundamentals. Following the socio-political changes emerging from the Arab Spring, elsewhere in the Middle East, more businesses are looking to establish their regional headquarters or expand their market presence to the UAE and Dubai. The property sector of the city is poised to benefit from this and record positive growth in 2012, across residential, commercial, retail and hospitality,” Emaar said.


Dubai “investment map” to help investor decision-making

The centre for Managing and Encouraging Property investment is drawing up an “investment map” for the real estate sector.

The centre for managing and encouraging property investment ( the investment section of the Dubai’s Land and Property Department ) is currently busy drawing up an “investment map” which will be released in the next few weeks. The map will offer investors guidance in relation to Dubai’s massive real estate sector, the objective of which is to attract more capital and also aid investors in their decision making process.

Majida Rashid, the centre’s director, said

“This map is designed to upgrade the competitiveness of the national economy at regional and global levels and attract local and foreign investors and businessmen who seek to enter the emirate’s real estate market but do not have sufficient information to manage their assets in a way that will ensure an added value for them and for the market as well.”

The map is also said to include a package of special investment opportunities in the real estate sector and a list of projects with “varied uses and specifications.”

“This map will be like a comprehensive investment guide for any investor wishing to enter the property market…that is why the list does not include just any project but only those which meet certain terms and specifications” according to Rashid

He also stated that this map will generally focus on the property projects, which contain specific prerequisites; these include sophisticated infrastructure, proximity of transport facilities such as airports, metro and other land transport means, the reputation of development firms and the fact that any project must be free of any obstacles or challenges.


The Gambia realises economic growth

The real Gross Domestic Growth in The Gambia has picked up by 6 per cent in the past 3 years, contributing to the economic performance of the country and a solid growth registered in the agricultural and telecommunication sectors, according to Mambury Njie the Gambian Finance minister.

 

Minister Njie also added further to the National Assembly that despite the global financial crisis, The Gambia has certainly showed growth in its economy during the past 12 months.

“For the year 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP at 2004 market prices) grew by 5.4 per cent per annum compared to the 5.5 per cent of 2010. This is mainly due to the revised figures for crop production and fishing activities”.

With regards to the fiscal sector, Minister Njie advised that a substantial decrease was noted in revenues as a percentage to the GDP, this resulting to greater shortfalls and obliging the government to apply a number of tax administration reforms and more control on expenditures. The decrease was approx. 17.5 per cent in 2007 to about 14 per cent in 2011.

He said “It is against this background that the Gambia government has embarked on a series of reforms geared towards promoting macroeconomic growth stability, improve revenue mobilisation, and promote efficiency in resource allocation,”

The government has been expressing a steadfastness in maintaining and enhancing sufficient control over spending, by embarking on budgetary controls with the objective of introducing a medium-term horizon in planning and budgeting systems.

“The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) will constitute a budget planning framework that provides incentives for policy makers and budget planners to formulate medium-term budget plans by linking planning and policy formulation with budget allocations; aligning the annual budget decisions with medium term macro-fiscal strategy; restricting expenditures within realistic resource envelope, and improving monitoring and tracking of budget performance,” he said.

The Finance minister, Njie also stated that his ministry wants to aid in expanding the base and improve tax collection; this will be implemented by introducing a Value-Added Tax (VAT) IN 2012, as well as streamlining various tax exemptions, the purpose being to minimise the overall expenditures on tax.


Dubai forfeited freehold properties on auction

The Dubai property market is experiencing a strong interest from buyers in good quality, well positioned and well-designed properties. According to Property Wire the average villa sales growth are at 0.7 and the development market is also showing signs that it is coming out of hibernation.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has started auctioning freehold properties forfeited from defaulters. In a first major auction, five properties in The Springs and Jumeirah Islands sold by November 28.

HumaidOmran Al Shamsi, Head of Auctions, DLD, told XPRESS: “We are auctioning freehold properties in Dubai. Some of these have been mortgaged to banks. The auctions are a way to clear the market. These properties come through Dubai courts for auction and the proceeds go back to the courts. They have a process in place to return it to the banks.”

Five properties that were auctioned in November, four of these were sold at a higher price than the expected base rate.

Of these was a1,800-square-footsprings villa which went for Dh1.306 million against a base price of Dh1.1 million. It was purchased by an Indian businessman VimalBansal who stated “This property is for my personal use and since I felt the price was right, I successfully bid on it.”

A more detailed example of what occurred during the auction is as follows. A 3,511-square-foot three-bedroom (Type 3E) villa in Springs 11, with a partial lake view, was sold for Dh1.82 million against a base price of Dh1.5 million. An unanticipated bid was for a property in Jumeirah Islands that was sold for Dh5.4 million against a base price of Dh3.5 million; this was a 10,637square-foot four-bedroom villa, which also has a separate study room. It went for.

The buyer of this marvellous property, Amar S. Dhir of Castles Plaza Real Estate said, “This is a good property in a good location and hence it went for such a high bid. We will be re-selling the property as soon as we get the papers,”

It is clear that buyers can start expecting more auctions in the near future.

“The properties being auctioned have been passed by the courts. This means that the docket of defaulting properties is finally starting to clear. If that is the case, it is a positive development.” LudmilaYamalova, Managing Partner, HPL Yamalova&Plewka

“On November 28, we auctioned a property at the Land Department. There are a few properties repossessed by ADCB that are being lined up with the Land Department for auction. The DLD public auction is a welcome step for all UAE banks. This will instil better confidence in the mortgage market and give rise to structured lending practices. The proceeds from the auction will be applied to offset the loan outstanding, including charges, and provisions reversed.” SundarParthasarathy, Executive Vice President, Head-Consumer Assets, Consumer Banking Group, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).


South Africa moving towards renewable energy

South Africa is ready to make its mark in the renewable energy sector. The World Bank has recently granted a $250-million (R1.5- billion) loan through its Clean Technology Fund to South African power utility names Eskom;

the companies’ goal is to help the country to reduce its reliance on coal-based power generation and depend more on renewable energy. Eskom will be developing a wind and solar plant, namely; a 100 megawatt solar power plant in Upington with is in the North Cape Province and also a 100-megwatt wind power project, which is in the Western Cape just north of Cape Town.
These two renewable energy projects will be the largest that have ever been attempted in the entire African continent. Eskom predicts that the construction of the 100-megawatt wind power project will start early in 2012.

Elbrahim Khan from Wesgro, the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency said “These investments are a breath of fresh air and it shows that South Africa is no longer just talking about renewable energy,”

He also added “The good news for South Africa is that there are serious ambitions to get our energy mix right and there are more renewable energy power projects in the pipeline that are to be funded by private investors.”

It is evident that for both the private and public, South Africa is fast becoming a preferred renewable energy investments destination; this is very good news for South Africa’s increasing electricity demands, emerging clean energy sector and the economy.

There are also certain key investment areas in the country; these are the Eastern Cape, Western Cape where investments are predominantly into wind and photovoltaic (PV) solar power and the Northern Cape Province which has been recognised as the best area for concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, this technology uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy onto a small area, this usually takes place with rotating panels.

South Africa certainly has the potential to develop itself into a major player in the clean energy sector. This is clear by the substantial amount of interest that has been shown by investors in recent months.

“We are going for renewable energy in a big way,” Khan said


Dubai a safe Haven in difficult times

The global market may have been hit hard in the 2008-2009 global financial and debt crisis, but the latest international financial turmoil and the 2011 political unrest sweeping across parts of the Arabian region has proven fortuitous for Dubai, which is now largely regarded as a safe haven! As its tourism and service industry have experienced substantial growth during this period, individuals and companies are looking towards Dubai as a key Gulf business hub.

 

The attraction of Dubai is that it was one of the first Emirates in the UAE to move away from oil as its main source of income. This has allowed it to methodically and determinedly work at transforming itself from an oil rich country into an important trade centre and business port. The financial crisis of 2008-2009 hit the lively city at a time when it was borrowing a lot to build enormous projects, including the world’s tallest towers and the largest man-made islands.

With the disappearance of foreign investors by the end of 2008, transaction volumes plummeted leaving Dubai with its gross domestic product dropping 2.4 per cent. Along with a rapidly increasing debt, Dubai World was forced to freeze payments on approx. $26 billion. With fears of a sovereign debt default about to unfold, the UAE’s two largest home finance companies also stopped offering new loans. The two mortgage lenders accounted for more than 50% of all mortgages in the country.

In 2010 Dubai started a moderate recovery, as the city co-ordinated efforts by reorganising its debt position and quarantining all problem assets. Having learnt from its past experiences, Dubai’s attraction to outside investors and companies especially now the Eurozone is being overwhelmed by its own escalating debt crisis is further solidifying the Emirate’s continued recovery.

According to TRI Hospitality Consulting the tourism and hotel sector in Dubai has seen a strong increase at the beginning of 2011 as the Arab spring has encouraged international and regional tourists to travel to safer destinations. This trend showed high occupancy during summer months, when many tourists avoided the troubled holiday destinations such as Egypt and Syria.

Manufacturing processes such as transportation and logistics from international companies now also provided Dubai with enough leverage to increase its strengths, diversify its economy further and build global competitiveness. These sectors represent an essential part of the economy’s recovery as it comprises of 10.4 per cent of non-oil GDP. (Nabeel Ebrahim, Abu Dhabi University Chancellor)

The trade sector of Dubai has also experienced growth, and according to EFG-Hermes the container traffic improved by 11 per cent in the first quarter of 2011.

“The UAE has remained relatively immune to contagion from recent political unrest in the region. The IMF went further to say that the UAE may actually gain from the current turmoil through increased tourism, as well as from companies relocating to the UAE’s favourable business environment, which now boasts affordable real estate with relatively good infrastructure.” International Monetary Fund, 2011