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Anita Nouri
"UAE is looking to increase its target for power generation from clean energy to 30% by 2030 and an aggressive 75% by 2050."

Anita Nouri
CEO, Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC

ExploringThe Unexplored

January 30, 2018
Though the oil-rich nations have been comfortable exploring their traditional roads, the ongoing low oil prices together with rising demographic concerns have increasingly motivated the states to invest in a more secure and diversified energy portfolio – an unexplored arena. Anita Nouri, CEO, Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC shared with us the ideology and vision of oil-rich countries behind entering renewable energy market as well as explained the role of Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability LLC in meeting the objectives.

By Namrata Nikale Tanna, Oil Asia Journal

OAJ - Kindly explain us the role of Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability.
Nouri : Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability LLC. was established in 2011 to develop landfill gas projects that will reduce the impact of Methane on the atmosphere. The Al Qusais landfill gas flaring project was registered as a CDM project #8269 UNFCCC.

It is the largest landfill gas project registered in the region and is reducing the impact of methane (landfill gas) by over 300,000 tons of CO2 equivalent. We have sold our credits to the Norwegian Government under a signed ERPA (Emission reduction purchase agreement) and have been able to monetize our credits in a market that is all but flat right now.

GESS is targeting landfills in the region for power generation and the reduction of landfill methane to the atmosphere. Landfills are the biggest emitters of Methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. All landfills need to be degassed and the gas can provide power to support the aggressive targets announced for renewable energy.

Landfilling is a reality in this region (GCC MENA) Even though the region is moving towards Zero Waste to landfill as announced the truth is that there are landfills and they need to be degassed and that gas can generate power that should be utilized.

OAJ - Could you share the ideology of oil-rich countries behind entering renewable energy market?
Nouri : We are a Global Community and so we have a responsibility to the World we live in. There is a regional move towards diversification of fuel and movement away from hydrocarbons with a move towards renewables. Landfill gas is the lowest hanging fruit in the renewable energy chain so it is our mission and vision to develop these projects in support of, and part of the government renewable energy targets.

The UAE was the first Middle Eastern country to sign the ratification of the Paris agreement setting an example to for the Gulf Region. UAE is supporting a Green Economy for sustainable development; in addition, the UAE is looking to increase its target for power generation from clean energy to 30% by 2030 and an aggressive 75% by 2050. This forward thinking ideology supports our business strategy and enables the development of renewable energy projects and sustainable development.

OAJ - What progress can be observed in Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy efforts?
Nouri : Saudi Arabia will never aim at a complete shift away from oil but it is making great efforts towards Alternative energy initiatives.

The increase in renewable energy in the solar sector is an example of this. We see great opportunity in Saudi Arabia in regards to our core business of “landfill Gas power generation and utilization” we hope to see similar projects to the Al Qusais Landfill develop there as well.

OAJ - What would be new opportunities in UAE’s energy sector & growth strategy in the current energy market?
Nouri : There is an opportunity in the UAE energy sector because the forward thinking leadership of the UAE has enabled the development of clean energy projects.

The aggressive targets and the fact that there is a demand for power from renewable sources and a goal to reduce the dependence on oil and natural gas as provided business opportunities for multinational companies that want to develop clean energy projects regionally.

UAE is a leader and sets an example for regional development. It is a business hub and now quickly becoming a renewable energy/clean energy hub.

OAJ - We request you to highlight the reasons that are driving the Renewable energy, as it has become economically attractive in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has ramped up renewables to 10% of the country’s total energy mix, and 25% of total power generation, could generate annual savings of USD 1.9 billion by 2030?
Nouri : Ambitious plans by the Federal and Municipal government bodies to support growth in the renewable energy sector. The targets are set high and Municipalities have government mandates to achieve these goals.

Throughout the UAE fuel and energy subsidies have been reduced to support the government, this has driven renewable energy as economically attractive, with the higher cost of power to the end user.

OAJ - What are some key issues that need to be addressed to encourage the renewable energy in the energy mix how will Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability help in overcoming these challenges?
Nouri : The key issues that we are facing are a lack of legislation and the ability to connect power to the grid. GESS has pioneered a landfill gas project that is currently only producing power to support the site operations by generating power from landfill gas. The Al Qusais landfill, under the jurisdiction of the Dubai Municipality, has the capability to generate over 20Mw electricity that could be connected to the grid. This is the challenge that we are facing and legislation to allow this connection in a PPP or an IPP structure is still being developed and defined.

The region is experiencing a growth in renewables and the supporting infrastructure has to play catch up. Specifically, we have implemented the first landfill gas to energy project in the region. As a brief example, this one project has created the need for:
♦ Engine parts specific to the industry
♦ Oil for the landfill gas engine
♦ Legislation (legal framework for grid connection)

OAJ - May we request you to highlight the reforms undertaken by the government to nourish the roots of renewable energy and develop sustainability and clean tech?
Nouri : The Emirates Green Building Council was formed to advance the green building principles that help protect the environment. They touch on all aspects of life in the UAE from power to building and construction. The codes that are developed and supported by the government initiatives create a better place to live for all its citizens.

The targets for renewable energy are aggressive in this region. By the year 2020, there is a plan to generate 7% of power from clean energy and this increases to 25% by 2030 and then again to 75% by 2050. The UAE plans to cut CO2 emissions by 70% by the year 2020.

The reduction of the amount of waste that is going to the landfills itself, in particular, supports the efforts of Green Energy Solutions & sustainability since all landfills should be degassed and that gas can support the renewable energy targets as well as provide power that can be a stable power source to the grid. Closed landfills, in particular, need to be degassed to be environmental and safe for the surrounding area.

OAJ - How is Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability contributing in curbing the carbon footprint in the country?
Nouri : Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability has a large scale registered CDM project for the reduction of CO2 to the atmosphere. GESS is a major contributor to the reduction of the Carbon Footprint in the country.

We are reducing the equivalent of over 300,000 tons of CO2 per year and to date have reduced CO2 by over 1.2 million tons from this one project alone. Methane is 25 times more harmful than CO2.

OAJ - Finally, is UAE ready for complete digitalisation?
Nouri : The real question should be is anyone ready for “complete” digitalisation? The UAE is a leader in Smart City technology in this region. It is providing a comfort of living for its citizens and a safe environment for families. With digitalisation, there is a responsibility to keep the humanity in the development and implementation of the technology. Is it improving, or automating, this is the question that I face. With digitalisation, the decision is made before the action is completed. I think that we have to be careful. The UAE is ready for the future, and living in this city for 9 years has proven that to me and my family, over and over again. We are proud to be living in such a forward thinking good society. How many other cities in the world have a “Ministry of Happiness”?

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