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Monday, 30 October 2023

TODAY: The second phase of Acwa Power’s Sudair solar farm comes online + We’re 30 days away from COP28

Good morning, friends. The news cycle is crawling along this week, but we have the latest on the two-day pre-COP underway in Abu Dhabi to sink our teeth into.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- Acwa Power’s 1.5 GW Sudair solar farm in Saudi Arabia has begun commercial operations on its second phase, bringing the operational capacity of the project up to 75%.

^^ We have the details on this story and more in the news well, below.

HAPPENING TODAY- The Financial Times’ Energy Transition Summit will kick off today in London and run through to Thursday. The summit will bring together senior leaders from the energy industry, as well as business and finance executives operating in carbon intensive sectors, to explore how to boost the energy transition while navigating today's geopolitical, technological, and financial challenges.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- A USD 1.3 bn package for US renewables-ready transmission lines: The US has committed USD 1.3 bn towards financing three power lines spanning six states from the west to the northeast of the country in a bid to prepare the country for the influx of renewable energy coming its way from renewables projects, according to a White House statement. The federal financing package will not be directly channeled toward construction of the transmission stations, but the US Department of Energy will direct the funds toward capacity contracts under a USD 2.5 bn bipartisan infrastructure law in a bid to de-risk investment for developers. The new transmission lines, which will extend to Canada, would allow an influx of some 3.5 GW from solar, hydroelectric, and wind power projects in Canada to the US. Despite the project’s potential, the US still needs to add about 30 GW in interregional power volume to meet its 100% clean electricity target for 2035.

The story got coverage in the international press: Reuters | New York Times | CNN | Bloomberg

SOUNDBITE OF THE WEEK- "I am here today to cry out from the rooftop of the world: stop the madness," Reuters reports UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as saying on the sidelines of a visit to Nepal’s Everest region to assess the impacts of the rapidly melting glaciers. The country had lost nearly a third of its ice in just over three decades, Guterres added while expressing concern over the diminishing icy reservoirs in the Himalayas which supply fresh water to over a bn people through river flows.

T-30 DAYS TO COP28- The two day pre-COP is in progress in Abu Dhabi: In his opening remarks to 70 ministers and 100 delegates from around the world, COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber reiterated some of the most important goals of the summit (defined by the presidency), which include: finding common ground on language for phasing out fossil fuel and increasing the renewables share in the energy mix; tackling adaptation finance gaps in vulnerable countries; and leveraging an adequate response to the Global Stocktake that addresses shortcomings in the global climate finance architecture. He also urged delegates to outline targets to triple renewables capacity by 2030 in a joint report with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and the Global Renewables Alliance, Reuters writes.

More about the report: The global production capacity from renewables must be tripled to reach up to 11 TW by 2030 to meet the Paris-agreed 1.5 °C warming threshold, according to the report. Key enablers will include scaling infrastructure like power grids and energy storage; improving energy efficiency, market incentives and fiscal policy; building resilient supply chains; scaling-up public and private finance; and boosting international collaboration. G20 countries — including top global emitters like China and the US — agreed last month to tripling their renewables production volume by the end of the decade in a bid to meet the warming limit, which is “more likely than not” to be breached by 2027, according to a World Meteorological Organization report in May.

What will it take to pull off a successful COP28? In a Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) media briefing attended by Enterprise Climate, climate experts laid out the key determinants for what they would consider a successful COP28 including the operationalization of the loss and damage fund, a clear target for fossil fuel phase-out, pushing countries to set more ambitious climate targets in their nationally determined contributions, and building a comprehensive adaptation framework.

Loss and damage talks may need a compromise: With regards to the contention over whether the loss and damage fund should be established as an independent body or hosted by the World Bank, lead climate finance negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Michai Robertson said the multilateral lender may not be fit for providing green financing. He reasoned that the World Bank often views climate projects as too risky for investment, and its internal politics can hinder equal accessibility to funds. Vanuatu's Minister for Climate Change Ralph Regenvanu said that the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) group will enter the fifth and last transitional committee meeting for the operationalization of the fund with a compromise proposal to have the fund established under the World Bank with specific conditions, and a clause that stipulates the committee can go back to the drawing board if goals are not achieved.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Egypt to reduce fossil fuel dependence to 55% by 2035: The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company aims to reduce fossil fuel dependence for electricity production to 55% by 2035, a source at the Ministry of Electricity told Enterprise Climate. Renewables will have a 40% share of electricity production while the remaining 5% will be provided by the Dabaa nuclear power plant.

Larger plans afoot: Egypt is embarking on a five-step plan to produce up to 1.4 GW from renewable sources by 2027, the source told us, without disclosing any more details. The country also plans to reduce the share of hydroelectric power to 2% as its units are becoming obsolete and require major investments, they added.


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The UAE will host the Forbes Middle East Sustainability Leaders Summit from Wednesday, 1 November to Friday, 3 November in Abu Dhabi. The summit will gather international leaders in sustainability, technology, finance, and policy to drive green strategies globally. The agenda includes sessions on climate-smart cities, green mobility, sustainable finance, and sustainable tourism. The summit is expected to set the tone for international and regional dialogue and decision-making, including COP28 which will kick off in late November.

Turkey will host the GCC-Türkiye Economic Forum from Saturday 11 November to Monday, 13 November in Istanbul. The forum aims to bring together key ministers and state officials from the Gulf countries and Turkey to explore areas of potential investments and commercial ties and to establish a network for joint projects in the energy, defense, banking, retail, and transportation sectors. The event is organized by the Gulf Research Center and Turkey’s International Cooperation Platform.

The UAE will host the MENA Solar Conference from Wednesday, 15 November to Saturday, 18 November in Dubai. The event will focus on all things photovoltaic, with a full programme on PV materials and devices, future technologies, PV reliability, and forecasting for performance assessment. The conference will also touch on how developments in system operations, concentrated solar power, and grid integration are necessary for the green transition. This will be the first scientific and technical conference specializing in solar energy systems in the region.

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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