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Masdar delivers key Egypt clean energy projects

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has completed the delivery of 30 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale clean energy projects and 7,000 solar home systems in remote and strategic areas across Egypt.

Together, the four clean energy projects developed by Masdar’s Special Projects unit will power 25,800 homes and displace 42,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, as well as advance the development objectives of the Egyptian government, said a statement from Masdar.

The Emirati firm formally completed a 14 MW project comprising four photovoltaic diesel hybrid plants developed in the governorate of the Red Sea on Tuesday.

The new projects complement existing diesel-based plants with solar energy, thereby saving costs associated with the purchase and transport of diesel, reducing risk of fuel price increases and supply shortages, and greatly reducing CO2 emissions.

The plants in Marsa Alam (6 MW), Shalateen (5 MW), Abu Ramad (2 MW) and Halayeb (1 MW) are specifically designed to ensure that the area’s tourism sector – the lifeblood of the region – is supported by efficient and reliable electricity, it stated

Masdar said another three photovoltaic diesel hybrids in Al Wadi Al Jadeed Governorate became operational in December last year.

The three plants in Al Farafra (5 MW), Abu Minqar (0.5 MW) and Darb Al Arbaeen (0.5 MW) bring electricity infrastructure to Egypt’s largest but least populated governorate, thereby catalysing the growth of an underdeveloped region.

Masdar had also recently completed the deployment of standalone off-grid solar home systems in remote areas across Egypt that previously had no access to electricity.

The 7,000 systems, consisting of two solar panels, two batteries with up to two days of storage capacity and lighting units, were provided to homes, mosques, clinics, schools and community centres.

These projects build on the 10 MW photovoltaic plant that Masdar recently inaugurated in Siwa. Producing 17,551 MWh of clean power annually, the Siwa plant continues to meet 30 per cent of the area’s electricity needs.

On the new projects, Masdar’s CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said: "These demonstrate how renewable energy can help countries meet a broad array of strategic aims - from empowering local communities, to strengthening energy security, to driving economic development. Energy is truly the backbone of development, and I am proud that Masdar can support Egypt’s strategic development aims as well as the critical global goal of delivering sustainable energy for all."

The selection of the locations for the utility-scale plants as well as the individual beneficiaries of the solar home systems was made in coordination with the Ministry of Electricity in Egypt and the local authorities in the designated localities.

The programme, initiated and funded by the government of Abu Dhabi, extended over a period of two years from inception to completion of construction, testing and commissioning, and handover.

Khaled Ballaith, the director of the Masdar Special Projects unit, said: "Each project was customised to the needs of the local community. This is reflected in the breadth of the technologies used - from utility-scale photovoltaic, to hybrid diesel technology, to off-grid solutions."

"Our priority was ensuring the right solution was deployed for the unique needs of the 70 villages and over 140 communities in seven governorates touched by these projects," he noted.

Ballaith said in delivering the projects across such a wide geography, the Special Projects team encountered numerous challenges, including a lack of both infrastructure and trained wokers to support construction.

"The team overcame these obstacles through close collaboration with Egyptian partners and by drawing on its experiences delivering projects in challenging geographies from Afghanistan to the Pacific Islands," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

Sobha launches luxury residential tower in Dubai

Sobha Group, a leading luxury real estate developer, has announced the launch of Sobha Hartland Greens, a luxury building with city side living in its urban mixed-use waterfront development in the epicenter of Dubai.

The eight-storey residential project at Sobha Hartland in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, is beautifully set within a three km radius to the city’s main attractions. Residents will also have easy access to restaurants and entertainment facilities within the community, said a statement from the company.

Sobha Hartland Greens includes eight floors of residential apartments varying from studios, to one-, two- and three- bedrooms. The luxury apartments start with an attractive price from Dh804,000 ($218,206) with exceptional payment plans on offer.

The handover of units will start from December 2017, said a top official.

"The launch of Sobha Hartland Greens comes in line with the huge demand we are witnessing for luxury living in Dubai," remarked PNC Menon, the founder and chairman of Sobha Group.

"The apartments have been designed to enhance the lifestyle of residents with an abundance of living space and expansive layouts. The tower is strategically located at the heart of the community and will have all the amenities a resident needs," he added.

Encompassed in the development will be two international schools, one currently in operation, nurseries, malls, cafes, tennis courts, yoga centre, swimming pool, clubhouses and spa’s, mosques and healthcare facilities.

Residents will also be three kms to various attractions across Dubai such as :to the tallest tower in the world, the largest mall in Dubai, Meydan Racecourse; home to the world’s richest horse race, District One 8.4km cycling and jogging track, Dubai International Financial Centre, Water fountain’s, world’s longest indoor ski slope, Dubai Country Club, Dubai Equestrian Centre, Dubai One Tower; World’s tallest residential tower and Ras Al Khor Wildlife sanctuary, said the company in its statement.

They will also have easy access to the Dubai Canal and Metro, both of which will envelope Hartland’s low density environment, it added.-TradeArabia News Service

Dubai to promote driverless vehicles

Dubai, UAE will introduce legislation to promote the use of driverless vehicles and invite companies to propose automated transport systems for the emirate, the government said on Monday.

The fast-growing city state, which has about 2.5 million permanent residents, aims to make 25 per cent of its transport - both public and private - driverless by 2030.

That should save Dh22 billion ($6 billion) in annual costs through greater efficiency and fewer accidents, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said.

The government will focus on innovations such as autonomous buses and taxis, it said. It did not give details of the legislation or its plans to introduce new transport systems. –Reuters

Canadian firm to build giant skylight for UAE mall

OpenAire, a Canadian designer of eco-friendly roof structures, said it has won a contract to manufacture a huge, aluminum elliptical-shaped dome for a 280,000-sq-ft shopping mall in Sharjah, UAE.

Located less than 10 km from Dubai, the 31-storey complex will rise from the city's waterfront like an oasis of luxury retail and residential space. With almost 300,000 sq ft area and over 30 floors of space, the Sharjah Mall will be more than just a shopping centre.

The massive project will include a hotel, luxury apartments, more than 100,000 sq ft of restaurant space, a variety of family entertainment attractions and a spa is being developed by the International Private Group (IPG) and Gambert Architectural.

The duo has partnered with OpenAire and Aluminum Light Industries Company (Alico) to complete their flagship Sharjah Mall project.

It will be, in short, a vibrant city within a city, inviting visitors from around the world to enjoy its refreshing, naturally lit environment at the edge of the sea, said the developers.

As its centerpiece, the mall will feature a remarkable aluminum elliptical dome skylight designed and manufactured by OpenAire.

Built with a durable aluminum frame and glazed glass, this skylight will be the largest aluminum dome in the Middle East, standing 74m (242ft. 9.4in.) long by 47m (154ft. 2.4in.) wide by 21m (68ft. 10.77in.) high and casting the main retail areas in vibrant, inviting natural light.

OpenAire, which recently took part in the Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) Show 2016, was chosen to build this complex and unique skylight because of its track record of creating unique skylights and enclosures worldwide, said the project developers.

On the project win, the Canadian firm said it was excited to be a part of this monumental project and looked forward to Sharjah Mall's completion at the end of 2020.

“OpenAire has been given a great chance to showcase our capabilities to the world, and we're creating a skylight that is sure to exceed expectations,” remarked Mark Albertine, the president and CEO.

This aluminum framed skylight sits atop the center of the mall on a ring beam, connecting beautifully with the smooth glass, polished concrete and brushed steel of the complex's striking architecture.

The dome will use panels shaped in a non-traditional diagonal geometric pattern, rising from 30.8m (101ft. 0.6in.) high to a peak of 51.8m (169ft. 11.37in.) high. The support structure will use an innovative combination of steel nodes and aluminum connecting members, allowing for large glass panels at the center of the mall which will give visitors unobstructed views of the UAE's open skies.

"We're working closely with Gambert Architectural and Alico to make the building the best it can be. The mall will be sitting on prime waterfront real estate, close to Dubai and even closer to the Dubai airport. It's going to be a cultural hub for Sharjah, and OpenAire's skylight will be at its center. It's just an incredible opportunity," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

L&T marks key Riyadh metro safety milestone

Indian engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said it has achieved a major safety milestone during the construction of key facilities at its Riyadh Metro project in Saudi Arabia, clocking over 15 million safe man hours without lost time injuries (LTI).

As per the deal awarded by BACS consortium (Bechtel – Almabani – CCC – Siemens), L&T is building ballastless tracks for Riyadh Metro lines One and Two on a design-and-build basis.

The project involves the construction of 62.86 km of double ballastless tracks in tunnels, viaducts, at-grade sections and three depots.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited the L&T’s Riyadh Metro project site during his first official tour of Saudi Arabia and interacted with the company's project personnel including blue-collared workmen as they celebrated the safety milestone.

The premier was welcomed by L&T group executive chairman AM Naik and SN Subrahmanyan, the deputy managing director and president at the site. The duo then presented a ceremonial Saudi sword to Modi.

Lauding the Indian workers, Modi said the remarkable achievement was possible not only because of superior technology or better management but due to the diligence and discipline of the workforce.

"India’s workforce will soon meet the world’s need for manpower and through their efforts across the globe they are enhancing India’s prestige and value in the eyes of the world," he remarked.

After his address, Modi spent a few minutes interacting with the workforce and even shared snacks with them.

"This is a truly remarkable day for the Riyadh Metro project and we are grateful to the Prime Minister for having spared the time and given due recognition and importance to this huge and iconic project, definitely one of the biggest that we are involved in,” said Naik.

“We fully appreciate how crucial this project is to Saudi Arabia and, more particularly, to the city of Riyadh and we are fully committed to completing and delivering our part of this prestigious project as per the stipulated deadlines maintaining the highest standards of safety and quality,” he stated.

The project, which has been awarded to the railway business unit of L&T Construction, is due for completion by the end of 2018.

Subrahmanyan said: "We are truly humbled by the Prime Minister’s gesture and all of us, including our 1,000-strong Indian workforce, are positively enthused and motivated by his visit."

"We have already established our credentials as India’s foremost builder of metro systems by handling a slew of projects and we are now bringing that experience and expertise to give Riyadh a world-class, new-age metro system," he added.- TradeArabia News Service

Emaar enters Saudi serviced residences sector

Global developer Emaar Properties said its hospitality and leisure subsidiary has marked its ambitious expansion into Saudi Arabia with the unveiling of its first hotel and serviced residence property in Jeddah Gate.

Emaar Hospitality Group said the 14-storey Vida Jeddah Gate hotel tower and the 25-storey Vida Residences Jeddah Gate tower are centrally located in Jeddah Gate, a master-planned community by Emaar Middle East.

The hotel and serviced residences offer sweeping views of Jeddah Gate and beyond, and are effortlessly accessible from the city centre, said the developer in its statement.

Family-friendly, Shari’ah-compliant and environmentally responsible, Vida Jeddah Gate and Vida Residences Jeddah Gate are refreshingly-unique hotel and serviced residences concept for the new generation of business executives, entrepreneurs and leisure travellers, said the statement from Emaar.

There are 202 thoughtfully designed hotel rooms and suites in addition to the 162 serviced residences, which will be for sale, available in one-, two-, three- and four-bedrooms. The residences are ideal for families and professionals and will benefit from being served by dedicated Vida Hotels and Resorts staff members, it stated.

The development takes design cues from Islamic heritage and the façade and textures will be reminiscent of Saudi architectural styles. It is envisaged as an exceptional hospitality offering that stands for upscale boutique style ambience, sophisticated energy and cultural inspiration.

Only five minutes away from the Al Haramain Express Train Station, Vida Jeddah Gate Hotel and Vida Residences Jeddah Gate are located near the headquarters of major banking institutions and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The development is also in close proximity to the main railroad linking the city of Makkah, only 30 minutes away, and Madinah, only three hours away.

Chris Newman, the corporate director of Operations at Emaar Hospitality Group, said the first expansion of the company’s operations into Saudi Arabia is underpinned by the renewed focus of the kingdom to strengthen its tourism sector and the reputation of Jeddah as a hub for business and commerce.

"The new generation of Saudi entrepreneurs and professionals will find that the design, service, quality and facilities we offer will more than meet their expectations. Guests will enjoy the fact we have integrated technology into everything we do and offer fast connectivity," remarked Newman.

"As a young brand for Emaar Hospitality Group, Vida Hotels and Resorts offers something new and different in terms of hotel experiences and Vida Jeddah Gate and Vida Residences Jeddah Gate will deliver exceptional experiences and value to our guests and residents for the first time in the Kingdom," he added.

Vida Jeddah Gate will offer guests a wide breadth of amenities including an all-day dining restaurant, lobby lounge for quick bites, a signature restaurant and a bistro. It will have a dedicated events space that can host up to 120 people, ideal for corporate and social events.

A fully-fledged spa and fitness centre, podium level pool, kids club and pool lounge will further celebrate a relaxed lifestyle. All these facilities are also accessible for Vida Residences Jeddah Gate residents.

With a total gross floor area of 519,204 sq ft, nearly equally split between the hotel and serviced residences, the new hospitality project is deploying the latest advances in green building design and construction to reduce the project’s energy footprint.

Vida Jeddah Gate and Vida Residences Jeddah Gate will contribute to the focus of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage to strengthen the Kingdom’s tourism sector. Saudi Arabia recorded a 25 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2015.-TradeArabia News Service

Enabling works for new Bahrain airport terminal set to complete

Enabling works on the $1.1-billion Airport Modernisation Programme (AMP) of Bahrain International Airport are progressing rapidly and are scheduled to be completed by the end of April.

In addition, bids are being evaluated for the final package of the programme, said Derek Hendry, the director development for Bahrain Airport Company, in an interview with Gulf Construction.

He added that tender evaluation for the information communication technology (ICT) contract – the last of the tenders to be awarded on the modernisation programme - will start on Sunday.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Bahrain International Airport Development Forum held at Movenpick Hotel in Bahrain from April 13-14.

Work on the main works package of Phase One and long-lead packages had also started, he added. A new fire station, fuelling facilities and a security gate are currently under construction, Hendry stated. These are scheduled for completion mid-summer this year.

The Airport Modernisation Programme involves the construction of a new 207,000-sq-m terminal with all modern facilities and will raise the annual capacity of Bahrain International Airport to 13.5 million passengers.

Hendry said the new terminal was aiming for Leed Gold certification. That will make it just the second airport in the region after Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah to have won the global rating.

He said the new terminal had already met 75 per cent targets in areas of energy usage, energy vision development, water usage, material sourcing, building management, among other aspects. -TradeArabia News Service

Viva Bahrain upgrades 4G network

Viva Bahrain announced the successful completion of its first 4G network upgrade, further reinforcing it as the fastest and widest in the kingdom, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

Oman extends solar rooftops for commercial buildings

Oman, which had earlier announced plans to generate solar power from residential rooftops, has now extended the option to industrial and commercial buildings, a report said.

“Initially our goal was to encourage residential customers to venture into solar rooftop generation, but then we felt it would be a huge opportunity for industrial and commercial customers to go in for rooftop installations as well,” said Hilal Al Ghaithy, deputy director for Consumer Affairs at Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER), was quoted as saying in the Oman Observer report.

The policy framework and regulations being formulated by the authority in support of solar rooftop generation do not envision any subsidy or financial compensation during the initial stages of the programme’s implementation, he explained.

“As electricity tariffs are heavily subsidised, our intention is not to have an additional support scheme like Feed-in-Tariff, for example, as is prevalent in other countries,” Al Ghaithy added.

“Offering financial compensation will only add another layer of subsidy from the government to customers. Our intention is to go in for net metering which will encourage people to reduce their grid-based electricity consumption and offset their electricity bills on a monthly basis.

“Once the government is able to provide additional subsidy for the renewable energy rooftop programme, then we will change our regulations to allow for Feed-in Tariff or financial compensation,” he said.

Licensed distribution and supply companies (discos), Al Ghaithy said, will be allowed to sign agency contracts with owners of solar rooftop capacity to offtake any excess output on behalf of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), currently the sole offtaker of all electricity output under the Sector Law.

“We are now in the process of preparing and developing the technical regulations and specifications for solar rooftop systems, as their integration into the networks will require suitable (safeguards) because these systems will be working in parallel with the main grid,” he said.

AER also plans to cap rooftop capacity at certain limits so as not to allow owners to install higher capacity systems that would enable them to feed substantive quantities of electricity into the grid, the report said.

Hyundai Engineering to set up power plant in Iran

South Korea's Hyundai Engineering Company (HEC) will sign a contract to establish a 500-megawatt power plant in Iran, said a report.

A panel of executives and experts from Hyundai's energy sector are in Iran on the threshold of South Korean president's visit, added the Iran Daily News report, citing Mehr News Agency reported.

The South Korean delegation travelled to the north-western city of Zanjan to assess facilities and infrastructures required for the construction of the power plant, high-voltage power transmission lines as well as a gas injection station, it said.

Based on an agreement reached between a subsidiary of Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (Tavanir) and Hyundai Engineering Company of South Korea, a 500-megawatt power station will be constructed 25 km from Zanjan on an area of 42 hectares within the framework of a build-own-operate (BOO) contract, added the report.

Kuwait to hike power tariff for expats

Kuwait's National Assembly has passed a law allowing the government to increase electricity and water charges for expatriates.

The law completely excludes Kuwaiti citizens.

The new charges will not take effect before September 2017 as the law will be applied on apartment buildings after 15 months of its publication in the official gazette, a report in Kuwait Times said.

The law states that Kuwaiti families living in apartment buildings are exempted unless they have other houses. The exemption applies to only one house.

The tariff hike will apply to apartment buildings (expatriates only), the commercial sector, industrial and agricultural sectors and government offices, the report said.

Qatar to let fuel prices fluctuate in subsidy reform

Qatar will allow its domestic gasoline and diesel prices to fluctuate in response to changes in global markets as it seeks to reduce waste of fuel and save money for the state budget.

Currently, local fuel prices are fixed at low levels, requiring the government to spend on subsidies to keep them down. From next month, prices will fluctuate monthly, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) said on Tuesday.

Future prices will be based on a formula that includes global levels, production and distribution costs within Qatar, and prices elsewhere in the region, QNA said without giving further details of the formula.

Qatar's state budget has been strained as low international oil and gas prices have slashed its export revenues, so it has been looking for ways to save money.

In January the government raised domestic prices of gasoline by 30 percent, but at QR1.30 ($0.357) per litre, the price of Super 97-Octane gasoline remained among the lowest in the world, encouraging a preference among drivers for huge sports utility vehicles.

Sheikh Mishaal bin Jabor al-Thani, chairman of a government-led commission studying the issue, told QNA on Tuesday that the new system would not necessarily mean higher domestic prices, but that they could now rise and fall when global levels moved.

Other Gulf countries have implemented or are considering such a reform as low oil prices pressure their finances; the United Arab Emirates moved to a similar formula for domestic fuel prices last year. – Reuters

Kone wins major Doha Metro order

Kone, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has won a major order to supply elevators and escalators for the Doha Metro project in Qatar.

The contract includes the supply of over 500 pieces of equipment for Doha Metro’s Red Line South and Gold Line and a 20-year maintenance agreement.

The Doha Metro project is a planned rapid transit system in Qatar's capital city. It will comprise four lines and include 100 stations, spanning a length of 215 km. It will be an integral component of the larger Qatar Rail network, which will include a long-distance rail for passengers and freight, linking Qatar to other GCC countries and Lusail City’s local Light Rail Transit (LRT).

The Doha Metro is developed by Qatar Rail and three of the lines are scheduled to be completed by early 2020. The fourth line will be completed in the second phase of the project.

Kone will design, supply and install altogether 189 MonoSpace Special and Kone Transys elevators, 253 TransitMaster escalators and 102 TransitMaster autowalks tailored for passenger use in the Red and Gold lines. The elevator technology will be based on energy-efficient Kone MonoSpace solutions.

"We are pleased to work with Qatar Rail on this new and exciting project," says Mark Bayyari, managingdDirector of Kone Qatar. "When you have a huge number of people commuting through transit centers every day, you really have to look at the safety and efficiency of the equipment. That will enable people to move smoothly and comfortably, with the shortest possible waiting time. This cannot be overstated and we look forward to providing our people flow expertise and solutions to the Doha Metro." - TradeArabia News Service

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