Good morning, friends. This morning’s issue is heavy on climate finance with a bit of friendly diplomacy — plus the latest drama from Adani Enterprises — thrown in to keep it interesting.
THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is in Morocco today on a high-level meeting visit alongside over a dozen ministers from his cabinet. Sanchez is set to extend a EUR 800 mn credit line and sign 20 MoUs including renewable energy development agreements.
^^We have more on this story and more in the news well, below.
THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- EU claps back at Biden’s IRA with its own plan for green subsidies: The European Commission (EC) — the EU’s executive arm — unveiled a proposal yesterday for a new plan to increase green industry investment in Europe. This follows weeks of anxiety that US President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — set to heavily subsidize US-made products — would spur a flood of clean energy investment across the Atlantic at the expense of other locations. “What we are looking at is that we have a global playing field,” EC Chief Ursula von der Leyen said at a presser yesterday.
What exactly is being proposed? Under the plan, existing EU funds would be repurposed — with member states able to draw on some EUR 250 bn, much of it from the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery fund. State aid rules would be temporarily eased for investment in renewable energy or decarbonizing industry until the end of 2025, green project approvals would be accelerated, and there would be a push to finalize trade agreements to bring in raw materials and boost skills in key areas.
But not everyone’s happy: Some EU members had previously opposed parts of the plan, including loosening state aid rules and the fact that some countries would be able to outspend others. The story is seeing widespread coverage in the international press: Reuters | CNN | WSJ | Euronews | Financial Times | Reuters | Deutsche Welle
ALSO- Adani Enterprises scrapped its secondary offering yesterday, a day after the offering (which was expected to finance green projects in MENA, among other things) had already been fully subscribed. The company cited “the unprecedented situation and the current market volatility” for its decision to withdraw the stake sale, saying in a disclosure (pdf) to the National Stock Exchange of India that the company will return the proceeds it has already received in the offering. The decision was broadly unexpected, as the Indian company had managed to successfully cover the offering on Tuesday — with the support of UAE investors — despite a turbulent process following accusations from Hindenburg Research that Adani had engaged in share manipulation and fraud. Adani Enterprises’ shares closed down nearly 27% yesterday.
WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Is BP walking back on plans for a renewables push? Oil giant BP may be doing an about-turn on its high-profile strategy to liquidate fossil fuel assets and raise funds for investment in renewable energy projects, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed sources “familiar with recent discussions.” CEO Bernard Looney is said to be on a drive to convince shareholders that maximizing returns in areas like oil and gas is still a higher priority than BP’s decarbonization push, according to the WSJ. Though BP previously noted that renewables projects would likely take years to break even, Looney is said to be “disappointed” in returns from some of the company’s clean energy investments, the unnamed sources are quoted as saying.
WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Aramco has sustainability tracking in its crosshairs: Over 100 of Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco’s international suppliers are on track to establish hubs in the Kingdom as part of the company's efforts to better track ESG activities across their supply chain, Arab News quotes the firm’s vice president of procurement Salem Al-Huraish as saying at the Iktva forum this week. Aramco also signed an agreement with sustainable supply chain management consultant Achilles during the forum to indigenize ESG rating platforms in KSA.
WATCH THIS SPACE #3- The UAE’s 2 GW Dhafra solar plant is set to be fully operational this summer, EDF Renewables regional director Olivier Bordes told AFP. The plant — located 35 km south of Abu Dhabi — is expected to be one of the world’s largest single-site solar plants, providing power to around 160k households using 3.5 mn solar panels.
Who are the project stakeholders? State-owned Emirati companies Taqa and Masdar own 60% of the project, while the remainder is owned by a consortium formed by EDF Renewables and China's Jinko Power Technology, according to Masdar’s website. The partnering companies are yet to disclose financial information on the project.
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CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
India will host the G20 Energy Transition Working Group Sunday, 5 February to 7 February in Bengaluru. Over 150 participants will take part in the meeting including G20 member countries. Egypt, the UAE, and Oman will be participating as special guests. You can find more details on the meeting agenda here.
Egypt will host the CSR Forum from 2-5 March at Somabay, Hurghada. The event aims to further discussions put forth during COP27 and boost private and public sector cooperation on climate action. You can register for the event here.
The Arabia CSR Awards is accepting applications until Friday, 30 June. The awardwinners will be announced during a ceremony on Wednesday, 4 October.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.