Dubai switched on its first solar plant and plans to build another one to diversify energy supply in the region. Its new 13-megawatt photovoltaic plant is the largest of its type in the Middle East. First Solar Inc., the biggest U.S. solar-panel maker, built the facility, costing around 130 million dirhams ($35 million). Dubai is targeting by 2030 to generate 5 percent of its electricity from clean energy and 12 percent from coal, while buying an additional 12 percent from nuclear reactors planned in neighboring Abu Dhabi. The remaining 71 percent will come from gas.
India Test-Starts Nuclear Reactor Despite Protests From Residents
Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd., the nation’s sole atomic energy producer, test-started a section of its $2.84 billion reactor after a six year delay due to protests from local residents. Public rallies against Kudankulam plant in the state of Tamil Nadu further increased after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The first unit of the Kudankulam plant was operated for two hours at a capacity of 175 MW. The unit should run at half its capacity by Oct. 26 and reach its maximum output of 1,000 MW in six weeks, while the second unit should start in a year, says station director Hari Narayan Sahu.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan Re-Examine Impact of Nile Hydro Project
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to review the regional impact of a $4.2 billion dam being built on a Nile river tributary in Ethiopia after experts said earlier studies were inconclusive. The 6,000-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to be Africa’s largest when completed in 2017, has raised concern that it will restrict the flow of the Nile, which provides almost all of Egypt’s water. On Nov. 4, a meeting of water ministers and delegates will discuss conducting a new study of the hydropower project’s downstream effect and more detailed appraisals of its environmental and social impact.
Nuclear Deal Could Allow Iran to Enrich Uranium to 5% Purity
Iran and five world powers may strike a pact allowing the Islamic republic to continue enriching uranium up to 5 percent purity, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Ryabkov adds that the powerful nations have discuss uranium enrichment because Iran’s nuclear program continues to expand. The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its atomic program is for electricity generation. The U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China agreed at talks with Iran last week in Geneva to hold a new round of negotiations on Nov. 7-8 after the Iranians offered concessions.