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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 04/04/2012

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar outlined plans to develop smart energy distribution network before World Cup 2022, a press statement said yesterday.

Environmentalists have argued that winning the right to host the world's most prestigious footballing event will pose several challenges for Qatar. Following the nation's successful bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, one of its key objectives is to ensure it hosts a sustainable, carbon neutral event.

Despite questions raised by critics about the country's ability to host such a huge global event-pointing to its lack of football infrastructure, small population as well as high heat and humidity levels during summertime-Qatar has responded strongly. It has countered criticism by demonstrating plans to use the summer heat levels to its advantage through the use of solar cooling systems.

The country's focus on sustainability, emphasised in its National Vision, has driven the Qatar General Water and Electricity Corporation, Kahramaa, to adopt the Qatar National Vision 2030 as the main driver for all its strategic planning practices and objectives.

Speaking at the Third Annual Qatar Alternative Energy Investors Summit which opened yesterday, Engineer Saleh Hamad Al Murri, Head of the Renewable Energy Section at Kahramaa, said: "Our strategy includes the development of a concrete framework for sustainability that will support the solar cooling systems planned for World Cup stadia. This involves building a smart national power grid to facilitate intelligent and reliable energy distribution."

The two-day initiative is organised by leading French business information company naseba, in partnership with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), a member of the Qatar Foundation. It is gathering international clean energy industry leaders to discuss progress in the Gulf region and outline effective investment vehicles for global renewable energy projects.

Currently into its second day, it included a thought-provoking panel discussion featuring Christopher Cantelmi, Head of Energy and Project Finance at Mubadala GE Capital and Waleed Ali Ahmed Salman, Vice President of Business Development at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. Both experts discussed the outlook for solar energy in the Middle East, before examining the effectiveness and suitability of various types of solar technology including concentrated solar power, photovoltaic and solar thermal.

Hermoine Macura, TV Anchor and founder of Straight Street Media is the summit's chairperson, and concluded: "This year's summit has gathered international leaders focused on driving progress in the clean energy sector, both global and within the Middle East. Understanding the finance behind these projects is a key factor, especially for stakeholders in the Gulf looking to finance international clean energy development."


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