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Monday, 5 September 2022

TODAY: Egypt, Greece eye 9.5 GW renewable projects + California wildfire rage on + Spotted wind turbines on the move

Good morning, wonderful people. We hope you had a fantastic weekend and, if you’re in the US or Canada, that you’re enjoying the labor day holiday. It was a busy weekend on the regional climate front, so we’ going to jump right in:

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- It seems like Russia’s energy beef with Europe could prove lucrative for MENA’s renewable energy sector. Egypt and Greece are looking to work on 9.5 GW of solar and wind projects, with some of that electricity going to Greece. This the latest in a series of interconnection projects linking the grids of Egypt and Europe and the second major one after Morocco’s 10.5 GW interconnection project with the UK. We dive deeper in today’s Renewables section, below.

Keep the renewable angle in context: Europe is also looking to buy more and more fossil fuel from our part of the world, including Egypt and Qatar. Russia said over the weekend that it will not resume gas shipments to the continent through the Nordstream pipeline as planned. It gave no timeline for the resumption of exports, blaming the indefinite shutdown on an oil leak at a compressor station (CNN | Financial Times | Guardian).

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Egypt is likely to get green hydrogen regs soon: Egyptera, the country’s renewables regulator, could announce a new regulatory framework governing investments in green hydrogen projects next month, local media reported over the weekend. Officials have held talks with an unnamed foreign advisory firm to help draft regs and model contracts that would be signed with prospective investors.

Background- Dozens of firms have pledged USD bns of investment for green hydrogen and green fuel projects, largely in the coastal city of Ain Sokhna. The latest round of MoUs came last week when seven regional and European firms signed up to explore building facilities with a combined annual capacity of more than 5.5 mn tons.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Oman’s state-owned solid waste management firm Be’ah is developing a waste trading platform, the Oman Daily Observer writes. The platform will see an online auction and allow for trading in recyclable solid waste. It will also see a ticker displaying local prices for waste materials. Local recyclers usually opt to ship their recyclable waste abroad due to higher market prices, instead of recycling and turning it into higher-value products at home, the publication notes.

WATCH THIS SPACE #3- Oman is two for two: Oman’s Al Shawamikh Oil Services Company wants to build a blockchain-backed sustainable energy management system with government tech solutions provider Frontech, according to a company statement.


IMAGE OF THE DAY- You really have no idea how big a wind turbine blade is until you’re stuck in traffic with one. We caught a glimpse of this wind turbine blade traveling down the Cairo-Hurghada highway, right around Ras Ghareb in Egypt, and we could not see the other end of the blade. Tap or click here or the image above to see the full blade side-by-side with fully functioning wind turbines in the distance.


The American University in Cairo is hosting COP27 and beyond: Climate policy and inclusive development at its downtown campus in Tahrir Square, Cairo, today. You can register for the event here.


There are a few big stories, the California wildfires dominate the headlines. The fires have forced thousands of people to evacuate in Northern California and burned over 4k acres of land. The so-called Mill Fire has been 25% contained as of dispatch, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. (Reuters | AP | NYT | Washington Post | The Guardian)

Other stories that have caught our eye: #1- The world’s largest offshore wind project is now fully operational. The 1.3 GW Hornsea 2 wind plant situated off the coast of Yorkshire in the UK became fully operational on 31 August, according to Danish energy firm Orsted, the plant’s developer.

#2- French transport group CMA CGM launched a five-year, USD 1.5 bn fund to drive its energy transition, according to a company statement yesterday. The fund will invest in the production of new fuels, decarbonize port terminals, warehouse and truck fleets, support prototypes and trials and make its offices greener. It will also help set up a global innovation platform developed in conjunction with other companies, SMEs, startups and the academic and scientific community, the statement said, without noting how this platform will actually work.

#3- A third of Pakistan is still underwater, and the country’s climate change minister says it’s time to start talking about rich nations paying reparations to countries facing climate disasters.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- Carbon emissions likely to cost the US almost 4x as much as was previously thought, according to a new study by science journal Nature. The “social cost” of CO2 emissions — which the US calculates in USD and currently puts at USD 51 per metric tonne of CO2 — actually stands at almost USD 185 per metric tonne, the study concludes.

WORTH READING– Spain and Portugal’s renewables drive is being posited by the NYT as an example of EU energy policy done right — and a possible solution to weaning itself off of Russia’s energy. As of 2021, Portugal got 60% of its electricity from renewable resources and during July 2022, almost 50% of Spain’s electricity generation came from green sources. With Gazprom suspending gas deliveries to Germany last week and natural gas costing 10x what it did last year, Europe has a few things to learn from the Iberian Peninsula, Patricia Cohen writes for the NYT. For years, it was cut off from the pipelines of cheap Russian gas, unlike the rest of Europe. So, it had to invest in renewable resources, namely wind, solar and hydropower, and set up a system to import gas from Africa and the US.

** CORRECTION- Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority is looking into plans to set up a local carbon market, allowing companies to buy and sell carbon credits. It is not introducing a carbon offset tax as we incorrectly noted in Thursday’s issue. We have since corrected the story on our website.


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COUNTDOWN TO COP- The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will hold the first meeting of its Alliance for Industry Decarbonization at COP27, according to a statement. Cofounded by Siemens Energy and 13 other companies, the alliance aims to accelerate net-zero ambitions and decarbonize industrial value chains to work towards the Paris Agreement climate goals. It also looks to drive green industrialization, as the industrial sector emits around 28% of greenhouse gas emissions, the statement adds.

CLIMATE DIPLOMACY- Belgium wants further climate cooperation with Morocco: Belgian MP David Leisterh emphasized the importance of his country strengthening environmental, economic and social ties with Morocco, following a meeting with Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat on Friday, according to a Moroccan government statement.


Egypt is holding online meetings on Tuesday to discuss the “50 by 2050” plan — an initiative led by the country’s Environment Ministry aimed at seeing 50% of Africa’s waste recycled by 2050 — which it plans to introduce at COP27, according to Egypt’s State Information Service. Online meetings held in July and August have already garnered support, with 45 public sector and 60 private sector players said to be committed to taking part in the initiative, said Roland Berger senior partner Hani Tohme told the National. The final list of participants will be announced at COP27.

Private sector participation in 50 by 2050 is crucial to its success, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said, according to Egypt’s SIS shortly after the August online meetings were held. A key aim of these meetings is to see how the private sector can participate — especially through waste-to-energy or biogas, Fouad added.

Also on Tuesday, the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES) will be hosting a Carbon Market Webinar via Zoom. Discussions will revolve around how Egypt and African countries can create an integrated, profitable carbon market. You can register for the event here.

The 2022 Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference will take place in Riyadh on Wednesday, 7 September. Besides discussing Saudi Arabia’s economy in the context of the global macro-outlook, it will also host a workshop on ESG and climate change.

US climate envoy John Kerry will be in Egypt this week for the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF), which runs 7-9 September at Almasa Convention Center in the new administrative capital. The three-day event will bring together global policymakers, ministers, development partners and other participants ahead of COP27 to discuss climate action and green transition, food security, and others with a focus on Africa. Check the full agenda here (pdf).

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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