Egypt Independent: Environment-Main news en US First Solar to invest in Egypt by next year, executive director says <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The US company, First Solar, is looking into operating in Egypt by next year, Middle East Executive Director Ahmed Nada said.</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">He added that the company is considered one of the largest companies in the world in the field of solar energy and is listed on NASDAQ.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">First Solar is a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions with more than eight gigawatts (GW) installed worldwide.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Moreover, Nada said he expects Egypt to become an exporter of solar energy within five years.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Egypt is looking to increase the country&rsquo;s share of new and renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020, according to electricity ministry figures. Wind will likely account for 12 percent, with other renewable energy sources making up the remaining eight percent.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">In April 2014, the Egyptian government announced plans to invest US$1 billion in solar power development in order to increase the share of green energy in the country and to spur job creation.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:59:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2439115 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/05/22/5886/sun.jpg Minister: Egypt receives 3 international offers worth US$5 bn to set up coal power plants <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The ministry of electricity received three offers from Chinese, American and German companies to generate electricity from coal with a capacity of 3000 MW and investments worth US$5 billion, according to minister of electricity Mohamed Shaker on Tuesday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Egypt soon plans to generate another 13k megawatts from coal,&quot; Shaker added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In April 2014, Egypt&#39;s cabinet approved use of coal for power generation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The country is currently struggling with blackouts, causing the government to cut natural gas supplies to factories, which has prompted cement companies to demand coal use.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt&#39;s natural gas production has been declining for years. Production in January was down 10 percent from January 2013, according to the most recent government figures.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In September 2014, the Egyptian began to allow coal importation despite environmental concerns from the high pollution coal emits.</div><div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>Investment Minister Ashraf Salman recently revealed plans to construct power sites operating on coal during the fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 in order to meet the country&rsquo;s growing electricity needs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He asserted that the government is conducting new and renewable energy projects to find the optimal solution to Egypt&rsquo;s electricity problem under growing consumption.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:44:00 +0000 Ibrahim Alsahary 2439073 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/21/484151/193375_0.jpg Saturn moon may have 'life-friendly' underground ocean: scientists <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Saturn&rsquo;s battered moon Mimas may have a thin global ocean buried miles beneath its icy surface, raising the prospect of another &quot;life-friendly&quot; habitat in the solar system, scientists said on Thursday.</p><p>An underground ocean is one of two explanations for why the 400-mile (250-km) diameter moon wobbles as it orbits around Saturn, scientists using data from NASA&rsquo;s Cassini spacecraft said. The other possibility is that Mimas has an oblong or rugby ball-shaped core. Follow-up measurements should provide more answers, the scientists said.</p><p>Either way, the findings point to a more complex and intriguing history for a moon best known for a large crater that dominates its surface, making it look like the &quot;Death Star&quot; from the movie &quot;Star Wars.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;If Mimas does have an ocean, this would definitely be another interesting body in the solar system to be added to list of potential &lsquo;life-friendly&rsquo; environments,&quot; Radwan Tajeddine, a research associate in Cornell University&#39;s astronomy department, wrote in an email to Reuters.</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&ldquo;The ocean hypothesis sounds unlikely because ... Mimas&rsquo; heavily cratered surface has shown no evidence of liquid water, thermal heating or geological activities,&rdquo; researchers wrote in an article published in this week&rsquo;s issue of the journal Science.</span></p><p>But a closer look at Mimas&rsquo; eccentric orbit provides a clue. Gravitational tugging by Saturn as the moon circles closer and then farther away from the planet could cause enough frictional heating to melt ice and form an ocean.</p><p>&ldquo;This ocean will sustain as long as the orbit is eccentric,&rdquo; Tajeddine, lead author of the article, wrote in the email to Reuters.</p><p>The other idea that Mimas has an elongated core raises a different set of questions about how the moon formed.</p><p>One theory is that Mimas, and possibly sister moons Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea, evolved from a collection of rocky chunks circling close to Saturn. Gravitational forces from Saturn would have sculpted the moon&rsquo;s core into an oblong shape, which was then covered in ice.</p><p>In this scenario, Tajeddine said, the icy shell relaxes and forms a nearly spherical shape while the moon migrates outward. Meanwhile, low temperatures preserve the shape of the oblong core.</p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Reuters 2438963 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/01/29/54605/solar-system.jpg Climate summit: Businesses go green, little faith in UN climate plan <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Uncertainties about long-term curbs on greenhouse gas emissions meant to be agreed at a UN summit in 2015 will not deter many big businesses from green investment because they say it already makes economic sense.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Customer demand for less-polluting products, shifts to cleaner and more efficient energy and curbs on carbon from China to California are all creating business opportunities, they told the Reuters Global Climate Change Summit.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>IKEA Group, the world&#39;s biggest furniture retailer which had 775 million visits to its stores around the world last year, said it is pre-empting any UN accord, viewing environmental sustainability is a core part of its business.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;At IKEA we really support ambitious and binding targets for renewable energy, for emissions, as well as for energy efficiency,&quot; chief executive Peter Agnefjall said. IKEA is, for instance, likely to invest about US$3 billion in wind and solar power by 2020 to drive its own operations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And in the past, Agnefjall said IKEA&#39;s green products often had a &quot;funny design or colour&quot; or had been more expensive. Now &quot;sustainability...should be the way you do business&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Almost 200 governments plan to work out a deal in Paris in December 2015 to slow man-made climate change that a UN panel of climate scientists says is the main cause of more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas since 1950.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The UN accord would enter into force after 2020.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many businesses at the Reuters summit - gathering many that have taken a lead in combating climate change - say they are not waiting for national laws or the UN process, which is bogged down by disputes between developed and developing nations about how to share out curbs on rising greenhouse gas emissions.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We don&#39;t have time to wait for the government to implement any kind of solution,&quot; said Josh Henretig, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft which has set a goal of no net carbon emissions.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If we can be an example to organizations and public institutions around how a carbon price could create a more sustainable growth model for our company, then that&#39;s ideal for us,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>No treaty</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A UN deal in Paris is likely to fall far short of a strong treaty and looks likely to be a patchwork of national plans for fighting climate change, based on domestic laws.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>China and the United States, the top greenhouse gas emitters, oppose a treaty. Still, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Shaun Donovan, said a Paris deal was a top priority for President Barack Obama.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The more we do, the more our ability to push other countries to make bold commitments as well, particularly China,&quot; he said. He said half the Fortune 500 companies have made commitments to renewable energy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many companies say it is hard to rate the exact impact of climate action on their earnings.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A report this week from the Carbon Disclosure Project said shares in an index of 187 companies rated as leaders on climate action, including Apple, BMW and Coca Cola, had gained 37.5 percent since 2010. That, they said, outperformed a 34.2 percent rise in the Bloomberg World Index.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It debunks the myth that climate action is purely a cost,&quot; said Paul Simpson, head of the non-profit group which compiled the report as an attempt to track business performance.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For some, uncertainty about a Paris accord makes it hard for businesses to plan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We are not generally in support of extra regulation, as you would expect, but we support things like mandatory carbon reporting,&quot; said Michael Alexander, head of environment at Diageo, the world&#39;s biggest spirits firm with brands such as Johnnie Walker whisky.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Companies, though, said a key concern was that restrictions on emissions should be applied worldwide.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We support a global cost on carbon dioxide... as long as we have a level playing field,&quot; said Svein Richard Brandtzaeg, CEO of Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk Hydro.</div> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:21:00 +0000 Reuters 2438957 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/16/484151/climate_summit.jpg