In celebrating this year’s World Green Building Week, Carboun has released a visual guide to energy use in buildings with the goal of explaining the overall state of energy use in the region and the significance of buildings as a major sector in energy consumption. It also aims to comparatively explain the nuances of the major trends of energy use in buildings as a baseline analysis for further research. The visual guide, which was researched and designed by Karim Elgendy with additional contributions from a small research team, was based on raw data obtained from the International Energy Agency and the World Bank. Copyrights for all infographics are reserved for Carboun. No reproduction or republishing of any infographic or part thereof is permitted without prior written consent from the author.
Continue reading A Visual Guide to Energy Use in Buildings in the Middle East
The institutional and legal setups of the Lebanese power sector define the decision making mechanisms, and identify the role of different stakeholders from the national electric utility, Electricite du Liban (EDL), to the Council of Ministers. In their current form, such laws and regulations do not grant EDL the tools and capabilities that would enable it to operate at the required standards and deliver reliable 24/7 electricity. Nor do they entice the utility to optimize its performance. Most importantly, the current setup largely exposes the power sector to political influence and their short-sighted calculations, which leads to the inefficient management of human resources, among other adverse results. Continue reading Institutional and Legal Challenges to 24/7 electricity in Lebanon
As Lebanon’s economy recovered from the Civil War, demand grew substantially and surpassed additional capacity of the current electricity generation levels. Power shortages progressively became the norm with some regions barely receiving 12 hours of electricity supply on some days.
The technical challenges that prevent sufficient volumes of electricity from getting reliably delivered to end-users span across the entire power system value chain: from insufficient capacity to large losses in the transmission and distribution networks. Continue reading Technical Challenges to 24/7 electricity in Lebanon
Hiba Abu Al Rob, Majd Jayyousi, Khaled Abu Ajwa, and Rashed Al Nasa’a
The water situation in Jordan is in need of dramatic changes to ensure positive outcomes in national water resource management. Already nearing crisis levels, it is estimated that any slight change in current levels or quality of water will have a significant effect on agriculture, industry, nutrition, health and ultimately the security of the Kingdom.
This is a story that everyone has heard before. It is a story at the heart of Jordan’s neighborhoods and villages where ramifications are felt every day, affecting the lives of thousands of individuals. Men and women, both young and old, have learned the meaning of water scarcity the hard way, as places and communities they call home have transformed into daily battlegrounds of uncertainty and disappointment. To tell the story of water in Jordan, one would travel far and wide, yet this is an attempt to tell the story through three tales of struggle, determination, and success in facing one of the biggest challenges this century.
The fields surrounding the village of Al Mughayyir, in northen Jordan, bear witness to the effect of water scarcity which has created a shift in the social pattern of local villages, with many abandoning agriculture and farming and moving to neighboring cities. Photo Copyrights Mohammad Asfour
Continue reading Stories of Water Scarcity in Jordan
Guy El Khoury
A year ago, in March 2011, a tsunami swept parts of the eastern coast of Japan and caused a major accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant, leading to widespread radioactive material leakage and a sharp increase in radioactivity in nearby areas. Being the most notable accident since Chernobyl, it restarted the debate on nuclear energy option both in Japan and around the world. In Germany, this debate soon led to a decision to terminate the federation’s civilian nuclear program with a commitment to develop renewable energy alternatives, as well as additional thermal power plants, to cover the energy shortfall. A similar debate on nuclear energy has also emerged in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) where a number of countries have been exploring nuclear energy option for years, but have not been able to turn their nuclear ambitions to realities due to their lack of technical capability, fear of nuclear proliferation, and lack of sufficient financial resources. This debate was further brought to the fore with the recent move by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to develop a civilian nuclear program and the operation of the Bushehr plant in Iran, and has proven to be quite divisive with strong positions arguing for and against nuclear energy
Continue reading Nuclear Desert
“Electricity is the mother of all problems in Lebanon … the size of the problem is beginning to pose a danger to public finances” – M. Chatah, Lebanese former Finance Minister.
Electricite du Liban (EDL), the state’s electric utility, operates seven thermal plants fueled by gasoil, fuel oil, and natural gas. It also runs six hydro-electric power plants. The national utility enjoys a quasi-monopoly over the power sector in Lebanon. However, for reasons ranging from inefficient operation and management to a freeze-of-tariffs government policy, the electricity company has to rely on significant subsidies from the Ministry of Finance to cover its deficit. During 2011, for example, approximately USD 1.57 billion were transferred from the state treasury to EDL, 93% of which was allocated to purchase oil. This subsidy constitutes one fifth of total public expenses, and according to a 2009 social impact analysis by the World Bank “is putting macroeconomic stability at risk”.
Continue reading Subsidizing Electricity in Lebanon
Karim Elgendy and Wissam Yassine
Developing transportation networks and facilitating access and mobility are major constituents of the economic development of any country or region. Yet transportation also poses great economic and environmental challenges as a major energy consumer and a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
In the Middle East, the transportation sector is challenged on both fronts. On one hand, its underdeveloped and inefficient networks continue to hinder economic development. In addition, the transportation sector represents a major consumer of energy in the region and a primary contributor to carbon emissions. In 2008, the transportation sector was estimated to be responsible for 31% of the region’s total energy use – a relatively high proportion compared to the global average of 27% – while the road sub-sector alone was responsible for 18% of energy use – compared to 14% globally.
Continue reading Sustainable Transportation in the Middle East