Qatar Inaugurates Solar Plant as World Cup Approaches

Solar Panels are seen at the Al Kharsaah solar plant project, in Al Kharsaah, Qatar October 18, 2022. (Reuters)
Solar Panels are seen at the Al Kharsaah solar plant project, in Al Kharsaah, Qatar October 18, 2022. (Reuters)
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Qatar Inaugurates Solar Plant as World Cup Approaches

Solar Panels are seen at the Al Kharsaah solar plant project, in Al Kharsaah, Qatar October 18, 2022. (Reuters)
Solar Panels are seen at the Al Kharsaah solar plant project, in Al Kharsaah, Qatar October 18, 2022. (Reuters)

Qatar inaugurated Tuesday its first solar power plant stretching across the desert, a vast site planned to provide up to 10 percent of the Gulf nation's energy supply.

The solar farm in al-Kharsaah, west of the capital Doha, is "one of the biggest" in the Middle East, said Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, the emirate's energy minister and president of QatarEnergy.

It was launched in 2016 in partnership with France's TotalEnergies and Japan's Marubeni as part of a broader push by Qatar -- one of the world's biggest producers of liquefied natural gas -- to invest in solar energy.

The project, at a cost of 1.7 billion Qatari riyals (about $467 million), consists of some 1.8 million solar panels and covers an area of more than 10 square kilometers (3.9 square miles).

Operational since June, the plant has a capacity of 800 megawatts and will "expand" further in coming years, Kaabi told a press conference.

Kaabi said the plant is part of Qatar's "strategic initiatives to build projects that contribute to reducing gas and thermal emissions".

During the day, sun-tracking technology moves the panels to ensure maximum solar exposure, while at night, robotic arms clean off the dust.

Organizers of the football World Cup, which begins on November 20, have used the huge solar plant to back claims that Qatar will host the first "net zero" World Cup.

But Kaabi said he could not confirm the al-Kharsaah plant will provide power for the stadiums hosting matches during the November-December tournament.

Qatar has announced a target of five gigawatts of solar energy capacity by 2035.

It announced two major solar projects in August that will more than double its energy output from the renewable source within two years.



Saudi, British Companies Seek to Explore Sustainable Partnerships

Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi, British Companies Seek to Explore Sustainable Partnerships

Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Several major national companies are participating in the UK-Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Summit in London on June 24-26.

According to information made available to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Federation of Saudi Chambers is seeking to mobilize the largest possible number of companies specialized in sustainable infrastructure to explore partnerships with the United Kingdom in green construction, smart cities, and technologies.

The summit will address topics that touch on the importance of Saudi-British cooperation in developing and financing sustainable infrastructure and development of cities, in addition to green technology and renewable energy initiatives.

Trade Exchange

The event will be followed by a meeting of the sectoral working groups on June 25 and an evening celebration of the tenth anniversary of the British-Saudi Business Council. The Sports Investment Forum will be held on June 26.

The value of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Britain exceeded 17 billion pounds ($21 billion), while the two countries aim to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $37.5 billion by 2030.

In May, Riyadh hosted the Great Futures conference, one of the initiatives of the Saudi-British Strategic Partnership Council, which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The conference sought to strengthen economic relations in several promising sectors, in addition to developing trade and mutual investment.

The two kingdoms explored opportunities through 60 initiatives in 13 sectors that enhance economic, trade and investment partnerships in all fields.

Speaking at the event in May, Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi said that the United Kingdom is the second largest exporter of services in the world, and that his country has promising opportunities and a will to diversify the economy.

He added that joint cooperation between the two countries covers various fields, with a focus on the commercial, financial, digital, cultural, educational and health sectors, as well as sports, tourism and entertainment.