More Plastic than Fish in the Sea by 2050

According to The Guardian, there will be “More plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, per Ellen MacArthur who elaborating, adds that “One refuse truck’s-worth of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute, and the situation is getting worse.”

More than a year later on, The Telegraph  published on May 16, 2017 this article on the nocive spread of plastic material debris in its widest range that are the drinking bottle and the shopping bag.  The paper wondered in this article (excerpted below). . .

Why a tiny British island in the Pacific has 38 million pieces of plastic rubbish on its beaches

When researchers travelled to a tiny, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, they were astonished to find an estimated 38 million pieces of trash washed up on the beaches.

Almost all of the garbage they found on Henderson

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According to The Guardian, there will be More Plastic than Fish in the Sea by 2050 per Ellen MacArthur who elaborating, adds that “One refuse truck’s-worth of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute, and the situation is getting worse.”
More than a year later on, The Telegraph  published on May 16, 2017 this article on the nocive spread of plastic material debris in its widest range that are the drinking bottle and the shopping bag.  The paper wondered in this article (excerpted below). . .

Why a tiny British island in the Pacific has 38 million pieces of plastic rubbish on its beaches

When researchers travelled to a tiny, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, they were astonished to find an estimated 38 million pieces of trash washed up on the beaches.

Almost all of the garbage they found on Henderson Island was made from plastic. There were toy soldiers, dominos, toothbrushes and hundreds of hardhats of every shape, size and color.

The researchers say the density of trash was the highest recorded anywhere in the world, despite Henderson Island’s extreme remoteness. The island is located about halfway between New Zealand and Chile and is recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Jennifer Lavers, a research scientist at Australia’s University of Tasmania, was lead author of the report, which was published Tuesday in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”  Read more on the original document.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away from any sea, ocean shore, a man took on the job to re-use some of the freely handed-out and empty water bottles.  This article of Huffington Post Maghreb was published in French on June 27, 2017; a translated excerpt is proposed together with some pictures.

In the Sahara, a refugee built houses from plastic bottles

HuffPost  |  Par Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

Publication: 26/06/2017 16h33 CEST Mis à jour: 27/06/2017 13h13 CEST

In a refugee camp in the Sahara desert, a man makes more sustainable homes in the face of difficult weather conditions. To do this, he uses garbage.

Tateh Lehbib Breica, a Sahrawi refugee living in a camp in Tindouf, Algeria, builds houses for other refugees from plastic bottles filled with sand, as we can see in this video posted on Facebook by the High Commissioner of the United Nations (UNHCR). Read more on the original document.

 

Video published by WEF (https://youtu.be/gg_BeXeBXV4)

Solar Power production and storage

In our article A Clean Energy Revolution is Underway  we tried to elaborate on Solar Power production and storage that is getting preponderant in our life literally by the day.  We are increasingly seeing how Energy is more and more appreciated but from as clean a source as it can be mustered by the available technology and like for anything else, it is no more a matter of generation but rather of storing or stock piling what has been produced.  In this particular case it is about batteries and / or different types of batteries. Here are some of the most noteworthy ones to date.
“To smooth out the production of a solar plant on a 24 hours basis, store a day production of electricity at night. For this batteries are a Classic solution.”  said André Gennesseaux of Energiestro, specialist in the field for 15 years explaining in an article in French of EDF’s Electrek  post.  This is Voss, rewarded by EDF Pulse 2015 priced invention.
Alternatives abound such as for instance the beautiful promises of the hydrogen to address the Intermittency of renewable energy, hydrogen could be the ideal solution to store excess production of wind turbines or solar power stations. EDF has also committed on this topic via its Electranova program.
More recently, Tesla TESLA TESLA BATTERY  commissioned researchers hit good results with a revolutionary battery system.  This is elaborated in this proposed article of electrek posted on May 9, 2017 written by Fred Lambert .  Here it is reproduced for its obvious interests, etc.

Tesla battery researcher says they doubled lifetime of batteries in Tesla’s products 4 years ahead of time [Updated]

@FredericLambert

Almost a year into his new research partnership with Tesla, battery researcher Jeff Dahn has been hitting the talk circuit presenting some of his team’s recent progress. We reported last week on his talk at the International Battery Seminar from March and now we have a talk from him at MIT this week.

He went into details about why Tesla decided to work with his team and hire one of his graduate students, but he also announced that they have developed cells that can double the lifetime of the batteries in Tesla’s products – 4 years ahead of schedule.

Update: Dahn reached out to clarify that the cells in question were tested in the lab and they are not in Tesla’s products yet.

During the talk titled “Why would Tesla Motors partner with some Canadian?” – embedded below, Dahn explained how they invented a way to test battery cells in order to accurately monitor them during charging and discharging to identify causes for degradation.

Like he admitted in his talk at the International Battery Seminar in March, Dahn doesn’t claim that he understands perfectly the chemistry behind the degradation, but the machines that they developed enabled them to test new chemistries more accurately and much faster – resulting in significant discoveries for the longevity of the cells.

One of his students working on the project went on to work for Tesla’s in-house battery cell research group and another started a company to commercialize the battery cell testing machines that they developed. Their client list includes Tesla, but also Apple, GM, 24M, and plenty of other large battery manufacturers and consumers.

In the second half of the talk, he explained how their new testing methods led them to discover that a certain aluminum coating outperformed any other material. The cells tested showed barely any degradation under high numbers of cycles at moderate temperature and only little degradation even in difficult conditions.

When it was time to talk about how those discoveries are impacting Tesla’s products, Dahn asked to stop recording the talk in order to go into the details.

While we couldn’t get that valuable information, when they started recording again, it was for a Q&A session and the first question was about his team’s ultimate goal for the lifetime of li-ion batteries.

He hesitated to answer, but then he said:

“In the description of the [Tesla] project that we sent to NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) to get matching funds from the government for the project, I wrote down the goal of doubling the lifetime of the cells used in the Tesla products at the same upper cutoff voltage. We exceeded that in round one. OK? So that was the goal of the project and it has already been exceeded. We are not going to stop – obviously – we have another four years to go. We are going to go as far as we can.”

This is impressive, especially since their research partnership started only in June 2016 and in February 2017, Dahn said that his team’s research is already “going into the company’s products“ – just a month after Tesla and Panasonic started production of their new ‘2170’ battery cell at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

It’s not necessarily related, but the timing is certainly interesting. It can take some time for products successfully tested in the lab to make it to production products.

It’s also important to note that Dahn’s research was focusing on Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) battery cells, which Tesla uses for its stationary storage products (Powerwall and Powerpack), and the first cell production at Gigafactory 1 was for those products.

Dahn explained that by increasing the lifetime of those batteries, Tesla is reducing the cost of delivered kWh for its residential and utility-scale projects. He gave examples of the costs at $0.23 per kWh for residential solar with storage and $0.139 per kWh for utility-scale, based on Tesla’s current projects:

For the batteries in its vehicles, Tesla uses Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA) and Dahn said that they are also working on this chemistry. Tesla and Panasonic are planning to start production of battery cells for vehicles, starting with the Model 3, at Gigafactory 1 by June 2017.

He added that considering Tesla’s use of aluminum in its chassis, there’s no reason why both the cars and the batteries couldn’t last 20 years.

Here’s the talk in full (update: MIT made the video private after we published our article):

Further reading :

How clean is solar power? The Economist wondered in an article dated December 10, 2016 http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21711301-new-paper-may-have-answer-how-clean-solar-power where all production parameters were critically reviewed in the light of their impacting Climate Change in the process of manufacturing of the necessary hardware.

Green and Climate Resilient Development

Green development through sustainability as the main parameter could nowadays be generally said to be adopted by all countries so as to advance their green and climate resilient development in support of Agenda 2030 and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as established in the COP21 of Paris in December 2015 and ratified a year afterwards in the COP22 of Marrakesh.
EcoMENA’s Salman Zafar produced this fantastic article today.  It is mainly about how to financially attain and sustain green development as defined by the above understandings of the last 2 COPs mentioned above.
We reproduce this article with our compliments to the publisher and our thanks to the author for our keen purposes of spreading further these wise words out into our own circles of friends and sympathisers.

Green Finance: Powering Sustainable Tomorrow

Image courtesy EcoMENA

Green finance provides linkage between the financial industry, protection of the environment and economic growth. Simply speaking, green finance refers to use of financial products and services, such as loans, insurance, stocks, private equity and bonds in green (or eco-friendly) projects. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity. For example, global interest in green energy finance is increasing at a rapid pace – in 2015, investments in green energy reached an all-time high figure of US$ 348.5 billion, which underscores the significance of green finance.

Potential and Promise

Environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, resource conservation and sustainable development play a vital role in access to green finance. During the past few years, green finance (also known as climate finance) has gained increasing relevance mainly due to the urgency of financing climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, and scale of sustainable development projects around the world.

The impetus has been provided by three major agreements adopted in 2015 – Paris Agreement on climate change, a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the ‘financing for development’ package. The implementation of these agreements is strongly dependent on finance, and realizing its importance the G20 nations established Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) in February 2016, co-chaired by China and the UK, with UNEP serving as secretariat.

According to Sustainable Energy for All, a global initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, annual global investments in energy will need to increase from roughly US$400 billion at present to US$1-1.25 trillion, out of which US$40-100 billion annually is needed to achieve universal access to electricity. On the other hand, around US$5-7 trillion a year is needed to implement the SDGs globally. Such a massive investment is a big handicap for developing countries as they will face an annual investment gap of US$2.5 trillion in infrastructure, clean energy, water, sanitation, and agriculture projects. Green finance is expected to fill this gap by aligning financial systems with the financing needs of a sustainable or low-carbon economy.

Bonding with Green

An emerging way to raise debt capital for green projects is through green bonds. Green bonds are fixed income, liquid financial instruments dedicated exclusively to climate change mitigation and adaption projects, and other environment-friendly activities. The prime beneficiaries of green bonds are renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transport, forest management, water management, sustainable land use and other low-carbon projects.

A record US$41 billion worth of green bonds was issued in 2015 which is estimated to rise to US$80 billion by the end of 2016. Notably, the World Bank issued its first green bond in 2008, and has since issued about US$8.5 billion in green bonds in 18 currencies. In addition, the International Finance Corporation issued US$3.7 billion, including two US$1 billion green bond sales in 2013.

Green bonds enable fund raising for new and existing projects with environmental benefits

Green bonds have the potential to raise tens of billions of dollars required each year to finance the global transition to a green economy. According to International Energy Agency, around $53 trillion of energy investments are required till 2035 to put the world on a two-degree path, as agreed during the historic Paris Climate Conference COP21. The main drivers of green bonds for investors includes positive environmental impact of investments, greater visibility in fight against climate change and a strong urge for ‘responsible investment’.

Key Bottlenecks

Many developing countries experience hurdles in raising capital for green investment due lack of awareness and to inadequate technical capacities of financial institutions. Many banks, for instance, are not familiar with the earnings and risk structure of green investments, which makes them reluctant to grant the necessary loans or to offer suitable financing products. With rising popularity of green finance, it is expected that financial institutions will quickly adapt to funding requirements of environment-friendly projects.

Green Building – More Than Just a Trend

In the MENA countries, some concerns about sustainability started to be heard of, back in the 1970s. it was in fact more of a follow-on trend than anything else.

European consultants however started ringing the bell about the 4 factors that lie behind the lack of progress but that have to be addressed at the earliest.  These are:

  • Lack of adequate legislation to enforce change towards incorporating sustainability
  • Absence of any discernible incentive towards sustainability
  • Unbalanced subsidies on energy, water, etc. leading to wastage
  • Limited awareness of environmental issues.

Nevertheless some legislation that was sporadically taken in certain countries, apart from not being regionally coordinated, did not also confront the real issues and for lack of not taking account fully the reality as it stands on the ground was across the board fairly ineffective.

The truth is that people slowly come to realise that we are having a devastating impact on the planet that we live on. In less than 2,000 years, human kind has led to the extinction to more species from the face of the earth than its entire existence. Considering that this is just a tiny bit of the overall time for which our planet exists, this is something that raises a lot of concerns. It’s obvious that people start to take initiatives through different LEED programs, sustainable development and through prioritising investments in different green initiatives. One of the most impactful fields is the construction. With this in mind, some things need to be pointed out.

 

Green Building – The Things to Consider

 

The truth is that green building, especially in Europe, has become something far more than just a simple development trend. And, of course, this is quite logical. It has paved the way for an approach which entails building homes and commercial constructions tailored to the demands of their time – not just to the demands of the occupants. And this is something that has to be particularly appreciated. The advantages are multiple.

Water Conservation

It’s worth mentioning that it’s estimated that the lack of fresh drinking water is going to be one of the tremendous burdens for future generations, should we keep wasting it with the temps we are right now. Recycling rainwater, for example, can preserve potable water and yield tremendous amounts of water savings which is definitely to be considered.

Emission Reduction

Fossil fuel emissions contribute to development and furthering of the biggest environmental burden of our times – global warming. Harmful emissions directly impact the quality of the breathable air and bring in a lot of different threats to human’s health such as lung cancer and other respiratory issues.

Storm water Management

This is also something that you might want to account for. Green building as defined in the majority of the LEED Programs can help manage storm water runoff. The latter can cause waterway erosion as well as flooding. The most troublesome thing, however, is that it could introduce potentially dangerous pollutants to water sources, hence incentivising potential diseases outbreaks.

In any case, Europe is definitely riding the wave when it comes to sustainable development, and you can easily observe this in a range of national and multinational projects. What is more, the Union is leading active policies, and it is actively funding initiatives in this particular regard through a range of different grants targeting both individuals and corporations. This is something particularly important. However, the same needs to be employed throughout the rest of the world as well. We can observe companies pioneering the field of sustainable development, and the examples here become more and more. This is definitely something particularly important, and it needs to be taken into proper consideration when it comes to it.

15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris

Sustainable Development in Paris ended on March 13th, 2017 in the presence of many personalities from the world’s governments, politics, business, academic experts in energy [ . . . ]

The transition energy guarantor of global security . . . 

The one day 15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris ended on March 13th, 2017 in the presence of many personalities from the world’s governments, politics, business, academic experts in energy.

I want to first thank the President of the World Forum of Sustainable Development for his kind invitation and for allowing me to put my view forward in an intervention, as an independent expert. It followed on that of the Algerian Minister of Energy who has objectively presented his vision of Algeria’s.  Utopia aside, fossil fuels such as gas, still have time to go as the main source of energy at least until 2030. But governing is anticipating, it is up to Governments to deal with the new and irreversible global energy changes notably those enshrined in the agreements of the COP21 in Paris and signed off a year later at the COP22 of Marrakesh in order to prepare the necessary energy transition.

It is a strategic mistake to reason as in the past on a linear energy model of consumption.

As far as energy engaging the security of Nations is concerned, the strategy of renewable energy must form part of a clear and dated definition of a new model of energy consumption based on an Energy Mix by evaluating resources to achieve all objectives that have to prepare the industries of the future. These will be based on the new technologies related environmental industries, object of the new economic revolution that is anticipated to be in 2020/2040

 Strategy for the Energy of the Future 

Photovoltaic solar energy refers to the energy recovered and converted directly into electricity from the sunlight by photovoltaic panels. It results from the direct conversion into a semiconductor of a photon to electron. In addition to the benefits associated with the low cost of maintenance of the Photovoltaic systems, this energy fits perfectly for isolated sites and whose connection to the electric grid is too expensive.

Solar Thermal energy is the conversion of solar radiation into heat energy. This transformation can be used directly to heat a building, for example or indirectly (such as the production of steam for turbo-alternators and thus get electrical energy). Using this transferred heat through radiation rather than the radiation itself, these modes of transformation of energy differ from other forms of solar energy as solar cells such as Photovoltaic cells..

By definition, wind energy is the energy produced as a result of the action of wind on specially designed turbines to generate electrical power.

Average solar irradiation in African countries, according to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) is between 1,750 kWh/m²/year and 2,500 kWh/m², nearly double that of the Germany (1150 kWh/m²) which has an installed photovoltaic farm of 40 GW (a photovoltaic capacity 20 times greater than that of Africa).

The load factor of any photovoltaic systems would be much higher in Africa than in European countries. And by end of 2015, Africa had 2,100 MW of installed solar photovoltaic plant, 65% of this capacity is concentrated in South Africa and 13% in Algeria and 9% the Reunion.

In the past two years, the continent has more than quadrupled its capacity in photovoltaic farming but this would remain still modest in the light of the great African potential because some 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity.

According to the Agency, this energy would be competitive today with currently used fossil fuels, whether in the case of important plants or isolated micro-grids (as well as home systems). According to IRENA, the investment of large photovoltaic power plants in Africa costs decreased by 61% since 2012 and possible a decrease of 59% of these costs over the coming decade.

These currently are nearly $1.3 million by installed MW (the world average for photovoltaic is around $1.8 million per MW/h according to IRENA). IRENA highlights the fact that photovoltaic energy presents for Africa a decentralized and “modular” solution (with facilities of a few to several tens of MW) for rapid electrification of areas not connected to power grids.

According to experts, it is true that the energy needs of Africans are limited to a few KW/h per capita per year, for mainly electric lighting. Electrical power networks are rare in Africa; therefore there could be no possibility of economy of scale. Africans pay 2 times more expensive power than Europeans do. It’s always more interesting to have cheap electricity.

But industrial development requires great levels of power and heat specially. Photovoltaic source of energy is certainly more suited to small off-grid installations and for some African countries but industrial production would require this to be combined with heat production.

Renewable energy expansion would be part of the professed Energy Transition.

The transition may be defined as the passage of a civilization built on energy essentially fossil, polluting but abundant and cheap, to a civilization where energy is renewable, rare, expensive but less polluting and aimed at the eventual replacement of energy (oil, coal, gas, uranium) stock by energies of flow (wind, solar).

Energy transition refers to subjects other than techniques, such as those related to societal problems. It is a move towards an Energy Mix as justified by the scarcity of resources, thus the urgency of a new model of consumption on a global scale which poses the problem of energy efficiency, and a social consensus, today’s technical choices engaging society in the long term: how much is this transition, how much is it worth and who will be the beneficiaries?

It was necessary to first make few remarks on the current approach to development of renewable energy.  We must target priority projects which contribute the most to the achievement of the objectives. Without any decision between the Photovoltaic and Thermal, we would discuss solar heat that seems suitable in the regional program of the South. Algeria that has significant potential in this area can become between 2020 and 2030 an exporter. The lack of knowledge of the field could not explain the selected program.

Indeed, wanting to test all technologies before opting does not seem to be the right approach. This would hide all studies that have been used including the studies in question had been carried out in collaboration with key research centres in the USA, as the ENREL, as regulators of solar technology: the DLR (Germany) and CIEMAT (Spain). The Kramer Junction plant works in the USA since 1980 with a capacity of 300 MW on the same technology that was used in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria.

Solar towers in Spain have been proven for many years. This is to identify the parameters of different technology assessment. With GTZ (Germany) the decomposition of the value chain by component and by cost helped to set a realistic integration of 70% for the solar heat rate. Manufacturers of solar thermal converge with this rate, while also according with the level to export electricity to Europe. Indeed Europe will need to import 15% of its needs by 2030 that is the electrical equivalent of 24 GW or the equivalent of 50 billion M3 of gas per year.

The study has also defined the conditions:- a stable political framework, a sustainable local market the size of 250 MW/year and a market that is open between the countries of the Maghreb.  Technologies must correspond to the most important value potential allowing a rate of integration, the greatest creation of jobs, offering the best match with the electricity market and finally, the most important technologies with the greatest potential for cost reduction up to competitiveness with fossil fuels.

The technology partnership and integration generally appeal to private companies. The risk is too great for an investor to agree to be put under the control of a public company.

Transition based on Realism 

It is therefore to identify the real actors and have a strategic vision based not on utopia but on realism as it is generally believed that laws and changes in organizations would not solve the foundations of problems, the political actors are therefore essential, referring to the political and social base. As far Algeria is concerned, I warned the Government and particularly SONATRACH of a suicidal adventure that could involve the security of the country, if these were to engage in massive investments in conventional hydrocarbons whereas the world at this time would undergo between 2020 and 2030 a major shift in energy consumption.

The Government that was misled in the past into believing that $90/100 per barrel would be the market price of oil, must at all costs avoid to reason about a model of linear consumption. It is that large firms in the U.S., in the European and Asian International spheres are reportedly investing massively, preparing the future in other alternative energy segments. Also, future profitability must register for the deposits between a fork of $40/55 and for marginal deposits between $60/70 before despite the recent report of the IEA on a possible barrel at above $80/90

What are the axes for the energy transition of the 2017/2025/2030 Algeria?

  • The first axis, would be to improve energy efficiency with new technology; energy consumption whether at the household level and / or the economic sectors referring to the policy of the currently widespread subsidies source of wastage that should be targeted for energy products. The Algerian Government would be bound to reflect on the creation of a National Chamber of Compensation that would be charged to coordinate all inter socio-professional and inter-regional equalization.
  • The second axis would be for Algeria to decide on investing upstream for new discoveries. But for the profitability of these deposits, it will depend on price at the international level and the costs,.
  • The third axis, Algeria planning to build its first nuclear plant by 2025 for peaceful purposes, in order to meet its soaring electricity demand.
  • The fourth axis, would be the option of Shale Oil/Gas (3rd global reserves according to international reports) introduced in the new law of hydrocarbons from 2013, folder that I have the honour to lead on behalf of the Government and handed over in January 2015. In Algeria, in order to avoid positions decided for or against, a broad national discussion, because we cannot minimize the risk of pollution of aquifers in the South of the country where as a semi-arid country, the problem of water is a strategic issue in the Mediterranean and African level.
  • The fifth axis would be the development of renewable energy by combining Thermal and Photovoltaic whose global costs of production decreased by more than 50%. Algeria has decided to apply the resolutions of the COP21 and 22, about global warming. But effective action cannot be designed by a Nation on its own. It will involve wide consultation with especially between the countries of the South Mediterranean and the Maghreb because for the Maghreb including Algeria, water resources are vulnerable to changes in climate. Water and its management problems would definitely affect the future of all these countries.

With more than 3000 hours of sunshine a year, Algeria has what it takes to develop the use of solar energy in a win-win partnership.  For this purpose, the CREG (regulatory agency) issued decrees to accompany the implementation of the program of Algerian of development of renewable energy in the context of the implementation of a national fund for energy efficiency (FNME) to ensure the funding of these projects and grant loans at subsidized interest rates and guarantees for loans made from the banks and financial institutions.

By 2020, it is expected that the installation of a total power of about 2,600 MW for the national market and a possibility of export of the magnitude of 2,000 MW and by 2030, it is expected the installation of a power of nearly 12,000 MW for the national market as well as a possibility to export up to 10,000 MW.  According to the CREG, Algeria plans to launch a tender for investors for a mega project of 4,050 MW Photovoltaic solar power plants, soon split into three lots of 1,350 MW each and backed by the construction of one or more factories of manufacturing equipment and components of solar power plants.

Development of electric interconnection between the North and the Sahara (Adrar), will enable the installation of large renewable energy plants in the regions of In Salah, Adrar, Timimoun and Béchar, and their integration into the national energy grid system. If these achievements were effective, apart from the problem of funding with budgetary tensions, the country would have by 2030, 37% of the installed capacity of electricity for domestic consumption from renewable sources.

In conclusion, economic dynamics alter the balance of power throughout the world also affect the political compositions within States as well as at regional and nationwide areas. Energy, in particular, is at the heart of the sovereignty of States and their security policies.

As I had to sustain it in various international conferences of mine and recently in a long interview by the American Herald Tribune of January 28th, 2016), co-development, and collocations, which cannot be limited to economics, including cultural diversity, can be the field of implementation of all the ideas at the level of the Mediterranean basin as to hopefully turn it into a shared Lake of peace and prosperity.

In the interest of both the Europeans and all of the southern Mediterranean populations, borders of the common market, of Schengen, of social protection, would be the borders of the environmental requirements of tomorrow.  These must be along a line south of the MENA region for a lasting peace, where Arab, Jewish and all other ethnic populations have a thousand-year history of peaceful coexistence.

In these moments of great geo-strategic upheavals, the African continent with very strong potential, would have to face up to significant challenges in the 21st century, such as rivalries between the major powers, USA/China/Europe for its control, whilst by 2040, it will have a quarter of the world’s population and perhaps drawing the growth of the world economy. This is subject to good governance and of the primacy of the economy of knowledge and the struggle to lower global warming which hits it hard by the preservation of its environment. In this context, the development of renewable energy is the guarantor of the coverage of needs and energy security of humanity. –

 

Written in Paris on March 14th, 2017 by Professor, Expert Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul, Director of Studies Department of Energy 1974/2008  –  ademmebtoul@gmail.com

At the 15th Forum of Sustainable Development “The Mediterranean and regional borders” on Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 9, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, Paris 75008, FRANCE.

See also recent contributions of Pr Abderrahmane Mebtoul on MENA-Forum.com

 

Energy revitalizing the Regions of the Mediterranean Basin

Economic dynamics alter the balance of power on a global scale and affect the political compositions within States as regional areas nationwide. Energy is at the heart of the sovereignty of States and their security policies. Energy revitalizing the Regions of the Mediterranean Basin is in this framework that befits as per this modest contribution with the urgency of a controlled energy transition.
Because, if humanity were to widespread this mode of energy consumption in the wealthy countries, we would need the resources of 4 to 5 planets hence the urgency of a new model of consumption on a global scale; this raises the issue of energy efficiency and social consensus, the technical choices of today, engaging society in the long term: how much is this transition, how much it is worth and who will be the beneficiaries?
Electrical interconnections in the Mediterranean can be a factor of co-development. Europe’s energy dependency is about 53%. A Mediterranean energy community: as such, it is possible where trade links are important. The countries of the southern Mediterranean [. . .]

Energy issues and their geo-strategic impact in the Mediterranean regions of 2020 / 2030

Economic dynamics alter the balance of power on a global scale and affect the political compositions within States as regional areas nationwide. Energy is at the heart of the sovereignty of States and their security policies. Energy revitalizing the Regions of the Mediterranean Basin is in this framework that befits as per this modest contribution with the urgency of a controlled energy transition.

Because, if humanity were to widespread this mode of energy consumption in the wealthy countries, we would need the resources of 4 to 5 planets hence the urgency of a new model of consumption on a global scale; this raises the issue of energy efficiency and social consensus, the technical choices of today, engaging society in the long term: how much is this transition, how much it is worth and who will be the beneficiaries?

 

Promoting interconnections in the Mediterranean

Electrical interconnections in the Mediterranean can be a factor of co-development. Europe’s energy dependency is about 53%. A Mediterranean energy community: as such, it is possible where trade links are important. The countries of the southern Mediterranean export about 80 percent of their gas and 60 percent of their oil to Europe. Electrical needs are complementary: the cutting edge of electricity consumption in Europe (France, Germany, North country…) is usually in winter, while in the countries of the South, given cooling systems (expected to develop with the improvement of the standard of living), it is in the summer.

In Algeria, per a study by Medgrid, the acquisition of turbines needed to satisfy this consumption peak would cost more that the interconnection with the North grid which, given any holidays and/or mild temperatures, could be not so cost loaded. We also know that the South of the Mediterranean is better placed than the North to exploit renewable energy. The sunshine there is twice more important. As for wind power, there are extremely favourable sites, particularly on the Atlantic border and in Algeria and Morocco, with run times that are about double those of German or French sites.

Thus, it is highly advisable to swap electricity power in either direction alternatively: conventional power from Europe to Africa in summer and renewable energy from Africa to Europe in winter. Corresponding interconnections will allow also to better manage the intermittency grid problems inherent to conventionnel with solar and wind power and vice-versa.

We can consider the use of grid lines that allow costs reduction and losses to about 3% per thousand kilometers; power production costing twice cheaper in the South, would have a significant bearing at the level of the average prices on the European markets. All conditions therefore are there for Africa producing massive renewable energy and for planning ambitious programs. Energy exchanges between the two shores of the Mediterranean must be considered in the context of the Energy Transition that is as off these an absolute necessity.

Both North and South Mediterranean shores markets should grow at a rate of more than 7 percent in the South and 2 to 3 percent in the North. The Energy Mix of the future would be electricity dominated, as per Shell Inc., the electricity market is expected to increase by up to 80 percent by 2040.

It is important to know that solar power, be it thermal and / or photo-voltaic for internal consumption needs should represent the most important resource for the electric generation. Hybridisation with gas should allow it to be competitive with alternatives such as nuclear power. Indeed, hybridisation in specific cases is now able to achieve a very competitive cost of production. Electric highways running continuous across the Mediterranean would be used to satisfy the growing needs of the Mediterranean coast of Europe.

Superconductivity completed through liquid hydrogen cooling will be the solution in the medium term to meet the needs of Northern Europe. It is understood that one must be realistic in the short and medium term as traditional fossil energy will still be critical in the light of new discoveries in the Mediterranean.

Energy emerged as a powerful factor of cooperation and integration between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Climate and energy can provide the structural link which will not only realize the Mediterranean cultural goal in the design and implementation of a series of concrete projects, but also to prepare the development of a strategic Euro-African concept. Certainly, there are however some technological limitations that would not allow high voltage cables in great depths but these could easily be circumvented through appropriate routing.

 

Energy changes in the Mediterranean

Should be taken into account soonest .

My friend, Polytechnician Jean Pierre Hauet of KB Intelligence, France quite rightly noted that “energy markets’ situation and prospects is that since barely 10 years making the energy scene come alive again in the Mediterranean with at least three large fields of manoeuvre which it would be interesting to try to understand the ins and anticipate the outs.”

There are three theaters of operations.

– The first one would be that of all renewable energies (wind, photo-voltaic and concentrated solar) which was characterized by launching major initiatives based on the idea that the technical progress in the current transmission lines continuous would take advantage of the complementarity between the electricity needs of the countries of the North and the availability of space and Sun of the countries of the South. We talked then about €400 billion investment and the satisfaction of 15% of Europe’s electricity needs.

Today project Desertec is rather on the back burner, notably because of the withdrawal of major industrial concerns, Siemens and Bosch, and the consumed disagreement between the Desertec Foundation and its industrial arm the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii). Dii carries on with its ambitions of integration of European, North African and Middle Eastern networks, however in favour of bilateral initiatives in Cameroon, Senegal and Saudi Arabia.

  • The second theatre of operations is more recent: it relates to the discovery from 2009, oil and gas resources in deep offshore Mediterranean’s Levantine basin. Israel is the first to have made important discoveries on the deposits of Dalit, Tamar State and more recently of Leviathan. The last deposit, located under the layer of ‘Messinienne’ salt seems very important. Drilling is underway in order to explore the deeper layers that could hold oil.

Greece and Cyprus have also found considerable reserves of gas, always in the same geological theme which had remained largely unexplored until now. According to the author, Cyprus, Greece and Israel acknowledged their exclusive economic zones in the Mediterranean and on August 8, 2013 have signed a memorandum of understanding on energy described as historic, including the construction of an LNG plant in Limassol and laying of a cable of 2000 MW between Cyprus and Israel.

The third relates to exploration and to the eventual development of shale gas; the first producer of which is the United States of America have managed to reduce costs by about 50 percent over three years’ time period. Large deposits are profitable at a price ranging between $40 – 50 and the marginal ones at $55 – 60.

 

Energy at the service of development

The strategic goal is to put energy at the service of growth and employment of the Mediterranean two shores and Africa.

In the face of the recent geo-strategic upheavals, the problem confronting Algeria, North Africa and Europe, is that of security in the Sahel-Saharan zone.  It becomes imperative to study the impacts of changes in the geopolitics of the Middle East and the Saharan region on the consequences for the region. In this context, one must avoid utopia, by a return to protectionism on a national basis that would not go in the direction of the history of the multi-polar world that is organized around large areas North-South including the protection of the environment. The Mediterranean, a large basin like five times France, represents only 0.7% of the surface of the oceans, but is one of the major reservoir of the marine and coastal biodiversity, with 28% of endemic species, 7.5% of the fauna and 18% of the world marine flora.

It is however one of the most polluted sea in the world. It is a no-tide sea, water of which takes more than a century to renew itself but nevertheless sees 30% of world maritime traffic and fauna and flora are endangered. “Rogue ships” release nearly 200,000 tonnes of oil into the Mediterranean each year and 290 billion micro floating plastic drift in thick and large areas of the sea, according to data collected during two scientific Expedition MED campaigns, conducted in the North-Western Mediterranean basin. Economic and financial crises brought to the forefront issues of growth and competitiveness to solve unemployment and pay off an increasing debt of domestic product gross seem to have set aside any environmental issues.

Production of a single kilogram of beef requires 4 to 5 kg of fodder, feed, etc. and 15,000 litres of water worldwide. More than a billion people do not have access to drinking water and 250 million people are affected by desertification. And if China and India adopted with respect to their food and transportation, the same consumption model of the developed countries, what would happen to our planet ?

The competitiveness of a country may decrease if there is environmental deterioration, that result in a decline of the collective surplus by allowances incurred by the community as the cost of disease, sick leave and the destruction of biodiversity. For example, the decline of bee populations affects agricultural productivity. According to numerous scientific studies, including Universcience, France, 12 percent of bird species, 23 percent of mammals, 32 percent of amphibians, 42 percent turtles, and a quarter of coniferous species are threatened with global extinction.

Every day, 50 to 100 species disappear, such as the sole which has seen its population drop by 90% in 25 years at the global level. And yet green economy in the context of a symbiosis of sustainable development between the North and the South, knowing that water shortage and desertification creeping northward are not best to be overlooked. While being realistic, fossil fuels will still be prevailing for at least two more decades as main source of energy. This is to make strategic choices today, to make decisions that will determine the profile of the productive system of tomorrow.

 

A common Mediterranean future

The EPIMED report shows that the European structural deficit and the sharp rise in demand for the South shore will involve in the future building of the elements of a partnership that goes beyond the classic model of supplier-customer.

This report focuses on European gas dependency moving from 53% today to possibly 80% in 2030. Additional uncertainty factor, the share of supply gas from the spot market in Europe will be stronger with the rise of LNG deliveries in an open world market. The volatility of prices and insecurity of available volumes will be more important in such a configuration despite the multiplicity of suppliers. The Mediterranean countries are also all facing the problem of Energy security. It is before anything a matter of strengthening cooperation particularly in the field of energy as being a fundamental element of economic activity, a factor of human security that can represent a very strong link between the North and South of the Mediterranean.

The geographical situation of the Mediterranean, as a transit corridor for global energy markets and an important crossroads for global energy markets cannot be more emphasized as perhaps another axis to struggle against water shortage, source of global conflict. This will affect the area with desertification, caused partly by demographic and economic changes, human activities and above all climate change which will not be a chimera by 2020/2030. Desalination of sea water, to reduce these tensions is an option but costs need are definitely to be neglected.

Only production on a large scale of components can substantially reduce costs, the respective States to temporarily support all related projects by targeted subsidies. Efforts to strengthen infrastructure, expansion of trade and markets open to local and international investors, and most importantly energy interconnections between Europe and the Maghreb as per the directive of European gas/electricity, will have a significant impact, in the coming years on the Euro-Mediterranean area.

As so aptly noted by a good friend of mine, Professor Jean Louis Guigou, delegate of the IPIMED, it should be that, in the interest of both the Americans and the Europeans and all the southern Mediterranean populations, the borders of the common market of the future, the borders of Schengen in the future, the borders of social protection in the future, the borders of the environmental requirements of tomorrow must be South of Morocco, South of Tunisia and Algeria, and in the East of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan through a lasting peace in the Middle East; Europeans, Jewish and Arab populations having a millennial history of peaceful coexistence.

So as advocated by this author, it would be desirable that a collective thinking revolving around four thematic axes should be engaged as of now.

  • First, territorial governance: it will be in this sense to identify the key actors (private and/or public, individual or organizational), to analyse the institutional contexts and to propose a framework of modes of coordination of these actors.
  • Second, the attractiveness of the territories: it is a matter of putting into perspective certain public policies to be implemented (regulations and incentives) and strategies for the actors of globalization to better understand the movements of relocation and the nature of outsourcing relationships.
  • Thirdly, new productive dynamics on the basis of a sectoral approach, the logic of agglomeration and productive organization to highlight in the process of deindustrialisation, restructuring and/or industrial emergence.
  • Fourth, spatialization of production activities and of analyzing the (urban) spatial organization of the productive dynamics in order to highlight the methods of planning, organization and management of the territories, and explain the logic of localization and intra-urban agglomerations of businesses.

 

In conclusion, a stabilization policy for Iraq and for Syria where pipelines have to transit and Libya whilst not forgetting the enormous potential of Iran, could all lead towards a deep upturn of the energy map in the Mediterranean, oil and traditional gas, explaining the Russian position (1). As I had to say at different international conferences, co-development, co-locations, which cannot be limited to economics, including anthropological and social component, antinomy of the effect of domination, taking into account cultural diversity, may be the area of implementation of all innovative ideas at the level of the Mediterranean so as to turn it into a shared Lake of Peace and Prosperity.

 

(1) – Contributor to conferences in the European Parliament – Brussels, the Senate and the French Parliament – Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul, expert international of Algeria was invited by the Executive Chairman of the Institute of the Mediterranean of Barcelona, Spain to participate by a contribution that will be contained in the fourth edition of the Yearbook of IEMed Mediterranean 2017.  This directory is for global dissemination, in Arabic-English-French and in Spanish – will address with 60 eminent international personalities, (former and current Ministers, scientists, politicians, economists, lawyers, historians, sociologists, writers) from the two shores of the Mediterranean basin on topics, interesting the Mediterranean and Africa, geopolitical, cultural, social and economic related subjects. 

Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul being member of the Scientific Council of the World Forum on sustainable development, to hold its 15th Forum in Paris on March 13, 2017 where he will address the theme “Facing the 4th global economic revolution, the axes of the energy transition of Algeria”.

See also Interview of Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul by Brussels based ‘European Agency’ © on 01/18/2017 on “Algeria: responsible and prospects of densified cooperation back to calendar.”

 

Urban World and the Demographic Challenge

An article written by Jonathan Woetzel, Jaana Remes, Kevin Coles, and Mekala Krishnan and published on the McKinsey is reproduced here for its clear view on this very common issue of the Urban World and the demographic challenge. It goes without saying that cities in the MENA region would also be concerned about the same issues highlighted in here. Urban world: Meeting the demographic challenge in cities. The days of easy growth in the world’s cities are over, and how they respond to demographic shifts will influence their prosperity. Cities have powered the world economy for centuries. Large cities generate about 75% of global GDP today and will generate 86 percent of worldwide GDP growth between 2015 and 2030. Population growth has been the crucial driver of cities’ GDP growth, accounting for 58% of it [. . . ]

An article written by Jonathan Woetzel, Jaana Remes, Kevin Coles, and Mekala Krishnan and published on the McKinsey is reproduced here for its clear view on this very common issue of the Urban World and the demographic challenge.   It goes without saying that cities in the MENA region would also be concerned about the same issues highlighted in here.

Urban world: Meeting the demographic challenge in cities

The days of easy growth in the world’s cities are over, and how they respond to demographic shifts will influence their prosperity.

Cities have powered the world economy for centuries. Large cities generate about 75 percent of global GDP today and will generate 86 percent of worldwide GDP growth between 2015 and 2030. Population growth has been the crucial driver of cities’ GDP growth, accounting for 58 percent of it among large cities between 2000 and 2012. Rising per capita income contributed the other 42 percent.

However, the world’s cities are facing more challenging demographics, and the days of easy growth are over. In the past, city economies expanded largely because their populations were increasing due to high birthrates and mass migration from rural areas. Both of those sources of population growth are now diminishing. Global population growth is slowing because of declining fertility rates and aging. At the same time, rural-to-urban migration is running its course and plateauing in many regions. How cities adjust to the new reality is important not only for their prospects but also for those of nations that will continue to rely on thriving cities for rising prosperity.

The double hit of slowing population growth and plateauing urbanization caused population to decline in 6 percent of the world’s largest cities—with the largest share in developed economies—between 2000 and 2015. From 2015 to 2025, we expect population to decline in 17 percent of large cities in developed regions and in 8 percent of all large cities. In the developed world, the urban population in Canada and the United States grew at a compound annual rate of 2.2 percent between 1950 and 1970 but dropped to only 1.0 percent from 2010 to 2015. That rate is expected to persist until 2025 and then to decline even further, to 0.8 percent from 2025 to 2035. Although the demographic shift is more advanced in developed regions, it also affects emerging regions.

This is a challenge to the economic prospects of cities that marks a distinct break from recent history. The past 50 years were truly unusual in demographic terms, as large cohorts of working-age populations fueled the growth of cities and nations. In the new demographic era, we are likely to see a much more fragmented urban landscape, with pockets of robust expansion but also areas of stagnant and declining populations. Cities’ growth prospects will reflect very different demographic footprints and dynamics shaped by their local birth and death rates, net domestic migration, and net international migration.

In a new report, Urban World: Meeting the demographic challenges, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) compares three developed countries and regions to understand the implications (exhibit):

Exhibit

  • Japan. Japan’s challenges are the most acute of the three developed regions. Urban-population growth in Japan was 0.9 percent between 1990 and 2015, and only 0.6 percent between 2010 and 2015. Urban population is projected to be flat going forward. Some urban hubs continue to grow, while most surrounding cities are aging and experiencing slow or negative population growth. The populations of Nagoya and Tokyo are still growing, largely reflecting inward domestic migration; the city of Sapporo, however, has relatively slow population growth because of negative homegrown growth and relatively low inward domestic migration. The population of almost 40 percent of Japan’s cities declined between 2012 and 2015.
  • United States. Overall urban-population growth in the United States is projected to decline slightly, from 1.3 percent between 1990 and 2015 to 1.0 percent over the next decade. The United States benefits from a higher fertility rate and greater migration than Japan and Western Europe. The US urban system is much more diversified and more dynamic than that of either Japan or Western Europe, with many large cities, a broad swath of middleweight cities, and many “niche” cities. And there is significant differentiation among cities that vary in their demographic footprints and dynamics. Raleigh, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas, are experiencing high population growth driven by all three factors. In contrast, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, are seeing their populations flatten or even shrink, and both have had to rethink their visions of the city.
  • Western Europe. Urban-population growth in Western Europe was 0.7 percent annually between 1990 and 2015. It is projected to decline to 0.5 percent to 2025 and to 0.4 percent between 2025 and 2035. Like Japan and the United States, Western Europe is agingunevenly and is likely to experience more differentiation in the future. The capital cities of Berlin, London, Oslo, Paris, and Stockholm all have growing populations. However, many cities are already experiencing population decline. This includes cities in Germany (for example, Chemnitz, Gera, and Saarbrücken) and Italy (Genoa and Venice).

Jonathan Woetzel is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, where Jaana Remes is a partner and Mekala Krishnanis a fellow; Kevin Coles is an alumnus of McKinsey’s Toronto office.