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Why go green?

by Edward Attwood on Nov 18, 2009

Cleaner technologies should be viewed in terms of the long-term cost benefits they provide, despite the initial capex investment.
Cleaner technologies should be viewed in terms of the long-term cost benefits they provide, despite the initial capex investment.

This issue of Utilities Middle East is largely focused on green issues. For companies large and small, the idea of ‘going green’ is no longer linked to what some may perceive to be non-core activities like corporate social responsibility and the need to reduce emissions. It’s actually about your bottom line, and in the wider sense, the economic security of your country via energy diversification.

The main concern holding any company back will undoubtedly be cost. Clean technology comes with a hefty price-tag, and it can often be easy to overlook the long-term advantages. That’s why Masdar – our lead feature – is playing such an important role for the region. It’s not just a PR stunt to offset suggestions from other parts of the world that the Middle East has no claim to being environmentally friendly. It’s a concept that will bring cost benefits to Abu Dhabi in the long run, with the additional benefit of adding to the emirate’s knowledge base as well.

Wastewater reuse is swiftly becoming the most important issue on the water sector’s agenda as well. This month’s feature on the issue takes a look at the some of the changes that individual companies and regional governments should bear in mind when deciding what options to take in future. Do we need more government involvement in the sector? Is sludge-to-energy a viable solution in the Middle East? Should we change the way we hand out our contracts? It’s impossible to provide all the answers, but it’s vital that this remains a point of debate.

This month’s news analysis section contains an interview with one of the Middle East’s most-recognised CEOs, Crescent Petroleum’s Badr Jafar. Yet again, the green issue raised its head – this time in the contest of the region’s increasing demand for power. Jafar suggests raising ambient temperature during summer from 17C to 23C in GCC buildings and offices, thus saving as much as 30% on costs. It’s hard to disagree with that kind of reasoning.

And on the debate front, I was delighted to meet some of the companies exhibiting at the IDEA 4th International District Cooling Conference in Dubai during October. Many of the same firms will also be presenting at the IDA World Congress in November at the Atlantis Resort on Palm Jumeirah and I look forward to seeing you there as well.


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