Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities: The Future of Urban Development in Qatar

One of the most important aspects of sustainable design is its ability to adopt a multilayered understanding of the needs of communities, sites and the environment to propose integrated solutions that not only address short and long term environmental and economic benefits but could provide opportunities to enhance social and cultural aspects of the development. Over the past few years, this has extended beyond the scale of buildings well into the public realm to include sustainable urban development strategies, infrastructure design and smart city solutions.

The reasons for creating more sustainable design solutions to minimize the environmental impact of cities are no longer questionable. The main issues facing designers and developers now are how to find the most suitable, smart city solutions that balance client needs, project budgets and the environmental design challenges and opportunities that arise from a project’s context. This is why creating sustainable urban environments will be a continuous endeavor that the Middle East will be experiencing over the coming years.

Fueled by an economic boom that adds pressure on available resources, Qatar, like other countries in the region, is at a crossroads to rethink its approach to urban planning and design to create more sustainable built environments on a macro level and redefine the impact of its future cities. Many steps have already been taken as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to realize the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, where the country is witnessing a number of large-scale development projects set to the highest local and international sustainability standards. Over the coming years, it is crucial to continue down this path by providing the necessary tools to ensure that targets are met. The integrated efforts of all stakeholders will not only ensure that goals are realized but set on a continuous path of sustainable development.

–  by Rashed Al Nasa’a, Senior Sustainability Consultant, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, GSAS CGP, PQP, Arab Engineering Bureau

QGBC’S Vision For Creating A Smart And Healthy City

Qatar is currently witnessing unprecedented urban development, from the establishment of Lusail City and the development of downtown Doha, to the inception of numerous infrastructure projects, the need to incorporate smart technologies in city planning in an effort to move towards establishing a healthy city is becoming vital.

Retrofitting Doha to become a truly smart city requires the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy with active participation from all the relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors. In Doha’s context, a smart city will fully support healthy living in all aspects including water and energy conservation, healthy air quality, increased community interaction and active lifestyle. The use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as smart water management system, intelligent and automated air, noise and waste management systems, and real-time communication mechanisms, will eventually help Doha move closer to realizing its vision of a smart and healthy city.

In an effort to conceptualize the development of a smart and healthy city amidst the ongoing infrastructural development, experts at Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), last year devised a comprehensive guide ‘Doha: A Rough Guide to Healthy Cities’.  The Guide, http://qatargbc.org/interest-groups/green-infrastructure, tackles the issue of the environmental health of urban areas which is becoming increasingly important to the world’s population as a majority of people are shifting towards inner cities.

Highlighting the benefits of planning and designing a healthy city, the non-technical infographic provides design and planning professionals, senior school students and advocates of sustainable development, with interesting guidelines on how to create a healthy city.

The key for QGBC and relevant stakeholders is to foster education around this subject to help create behavioural change in the process. This infographic is a starting point for such practices, which need to be further highlighted through national dialogues, the likes of Arab Future Cities Summit, the Qatar Green Building Conference, and the Qatar Sustainability Week.  Such efforts will foster the development of green infrastructure as a national resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

by Meshal Al Shamari, Director – QGBC

5th edition of the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar rolls out in April 2016

Ribbon cutting ceremony of the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar 2015 edition

  • The Summit will be held on 11-12 April 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha
  • With sustainable urban development as the main theme, the summit will focus on the various facets of smart city development

Doha, Qatar, October 19, 2015: The Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar, today announced the 2016 edition of its marquee event featuring regional and international industry experts, senior government officials and sector specialists will be held on 11-12 April at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha. Organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the summit is considered as the premier smart cities event in the region, connecting over 400 participants from across the GCC with prominent thought leaders from around the world. The summit aims to discuss path-breaking ideas, and explore how technology can be leveraged within the smart city infrastructure to create sustainable solutions.

The 2015 edition of the summit was inaugurated by Eng. Abdulla Abdulaziz T. Al Subaie, Managing Director, Qatar Rail, in the presence of esteemed dignitaries including Hamad Ibrahim al-Bishri, deputy CEO of Qatar Rail; Dr. Rainer Schnepfleitner, department manager, Regulation and Competition Affairs, Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA); Ashraf Ali Ismael, national information assurance manager, Cyber Security Division, (Q-CERT), ICTQatar; Dr. Fethi Filali, head of technology development and applied research, Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre and Ahmad Kawakbi, ICT & Stakeholder Manager, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy – FIFA World Cup Qatar who also spoke at the summit.

Developing a robust smart city ecosystem involves seamless integration, synergy and connectivity of the central pillars that constitute a city – public transport, governance operations, infrastructure, utilities, healthcare, communications, and municipal services. In accordance with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, the government has ushered in a new phase of development, incorporating smart technology, state-of-the-art infrastructure and services to provide its citizens a smart, sustainable and efficient future that ensures an improved quality of life. Additionally, hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 has presented a gamut of growth opportunities and further propelled the concept of smart cities in this region.

Announcing the dates of the Summit, Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “In its fifth year now, the Summit has established itself as the foremost smart cities event in the region. Setting the benchmark in promoting innovation and identifying emerging trends impacting this region, the summit presents a common platform for all stakeholders to innovate, educate and collaborate to generate ideas on making the concept of smart cities a reality. Over two days, leading experts and practitioners from across industries will share their expertise and knowledge on harnessing technological innovations and defining effective strategies to boost smart city initiatives in the region.”

The two-day conference agenda covers a broad range of forward-thinking topics such as smart connectivity, smart mobility and transportation, Internet of Everything (IoE), economical and sustainable smart vehicles, building automation, Lusail city’s innovations, cyber security amongst many more, that provide a comprehensive view of the smart city development in the State of Qatar.

Over 20 speakers and industry visionaries will unveil their views on how smart city development and technology deployment will meet Qatar’s smart city vision. Keynote sessions, panel discussions and case study presentations at the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar will provide attendees with an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on the latest smart city technologies and solutions influencing the smart city domain in the region.

With a plethora of networking opportunities, the summit will witness participation from technologists, developers, urban planners and researchers, investors, engineers and policy professionals from across the GCC.

The 2015 edition of the summit was a runaway success and in the forthcoming year the summit is expected to be bigger before than before. The summit received appreciation from attendees and sponsors alike. Mr. Mohannad Khader, Vice President – Commercial, Qatar Cool, said, “Every year when we come here, we listen to new ideas, we get to know more people and great strategies from other well- reputed companies. It has been valuable for sure.

Safder Nazir, Regional Vice President, Smart Cities & IoT, Huawei, said, “We are glad to be back here at the Arab Future Cities in Doha. We find a very well-attended event with a high quality of guests here. We have been able to interact with a lot of people and share our vision and thought for the future of smart city development not only within Doha and Qatar but across the region as well.”

More information on the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar is available now at http://www.arabfuturecities.com/. Follow the Summit on social media with the hashtag #AFCS2016.

Renewable Energy at the Forefront of Discussion at the Power Qatar Summit 2015

Keynote session in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Keynote session in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Doha, Qatar, October 11, 2015: Later this month on 26–27 October, the state of Qatar known for its abundant natural energy resources will witness the region’s leading power generation, transmission and distribution event, the Power Qatar Summit. Held under the patronage of Kahramaa, the Summit brings together senior decision makers within the government, regional and global thought leaders from the public and private sectors to collaborate and discuss the future developments in the energy sector for the region.

The two-day summit will provide invaluable networking opportunities to over 350 delegates, including project advisors, developers and planners, energy suppliers, utilities and network operators, analysts and system integrators, designers, architects and engineers, consultants and sustainability experts.

The state of Qatar boasts one of the highest per capita electricity consumption in the world and the highest in the Gulf region. Given this, Mohamed Nagib Omara, Technical Advisor to the President, Kahramaa will take the audience through a 20-minute presentation on an overview of Qatar’s progress over the last decade in power generation, with a focus on the future electricity networks and generation mix.

Over the course of two days, the summit will cover topics pertinent to the state of Qatar. Replete with renewable energy resources, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) is able to adequately address the power requirements arising in the region. Qatar’s unrivalled solar potential is a strong indicator that it is poised to become a world leader in renewable energy production as well. The extensive measures undertaken by Kahramaa to transform Qatar into a regional solar hub will be discussed at length by Saleh Hamad Al Marri, Head of Renewable Energies Technologies, Kahramaa under the topic ‘Kahramaa’s Prospective Projects for Solar Energy’.

Solar energy makes a vital contribution to reducing carbon emissions significantly. In a panel discussion, eminent speakers Dr. Haitham Abu-Rub, Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering Program, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Eng. Hamid Jawad, Operations Director, Rawafid Systems and Mohamed Nagib Omara, Technical Advisor to the President, Kahramaa, will further discuss the role of solar energy in a sustainable city development and the challenges faced by this industry. The panelists will collectively seek out solutions and evaluate new opportunities to address the challenges hindering the growth and adoption of solar energy in the region.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “Over the last few years, there has been a significant and rapid change in the entire energy outlook of this region. In the Middle East, there is a renewed push for renewable energy; Qatar is one of the world’s foremost market for renewable energy. The country’s overall energy demand has been on an upswing and is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years.”

Renewable energy, clean energy technologies and the various energy efficiency initiatives, amongst other topics will be discussed at the Power Qatar Summit 2015, incorporating the highly successful Solar Qatar Summit, on 26-27 October 2015 at The Ritz Carlton, Doha, Qatar.

For more event details, please log on to http://www.powerqatar.com/

Qatar Transitioning To Smart Meters

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Doha, Qatar, August 11, 2015: In an endeavor to offer better energy management solutions to consumers, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) has leveraged the collaborative understanding of Information Technology and the power sector to launch its smart meter project. With decisive implementation plans to make the country a pioneer in smart energy management, KAHRAMAA intends to cover the complete geographical rollout of the smart meter project across the city by 2016. Smart meter deployment provides real-time information on the energy, water or natural gas consumption of a building or home.

The country’s steady movement towards an overall smart energy approach is supported by the installation of smart grid projects and its related technologies such as smart meter that benefits consumers and energy providers in ways more than one. Additionally, it enables KAHRAMAA to optimize energy consumption and promote energy efficiency.

“By adding the intelligence of IT to power distribution, KAHRAMAA aims to attain sustainable development and significantly improve the power infrastructure in the country. Encompassing a broad portfolio of technologies, smart grids ensure optimized usage of energy usage and support increased penetration of renewable energy. With the state of Qatar witnessing rapid growth in the power sector, the government has undertaken massive initiatives to achieve its noble vision of attaining a significant increase in renewables and energy efficiency,” opined, Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East.

In the Middle East, the rate of adoption of smart metering has been on a steady growth trajectory and this demand will continue to increase exponentially in the coming years. Government-led initiatives and introduction of regulatory frameworks coupled with the adoption of latest technology in the utilities segment have driven the deployment of smart grids and smart meters in the region. Large international private players have played a crucial role in developing end-to-end solutions to build a smart energy infrastructure in the GCC region.

Installing a smart meter helps keep a check on power distribution, monitors consumer usage and communicates revenue unit of energy data in real-time between any two-distribution points. According to an industry study, smart metering market will reach 16.1 million units by 2022 and 86% of homes and businesses in the Gulf countries are expected to have smart meters by the same year.

The opportunities of smart metering and its efficacy will be discussed at the Power Qatar Summit 2015, incorporating the highly successful Solar Qatar Summit, on 26-27 October 2015 at The Ritz Carlton, Doha, Qatar.

For more event details, please log on to http://www.powerqatar.com/

Qatar powered by Solar Energy

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Doha, Qatar, July 9, 2015: Richly endowed in solar energy and supported by innovative research and infrastructure development plans, the GCC region has witnessed rapid growth in renewable energy generation and consumption. Qatar is leading the region by deploying new renewable energy initiatives and has become a major powerhouse in solar energy. Being the most abundant and viable energy source, it effectively addresses the increasing power requirements in the region.

In line with the country’s vision to promote sustainability and environmental awareness and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, the government has implemented several solar energy projects, including large-scale solar power plants, solar desalination projects and solar panel manufacturing plants. Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has undertaken tangible measures to transform Qatar into a regional solar hub. Kahramaa’s first solar power facility with a generation capacity of 10 to 15MW is expected to be operational by 2016. The solar power station will be located at Duhail, covering an area of over 100,000 square meters. Kahramaa has targeted a generation capacity of 200MW through solar power by 2020.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “With ample amount of renewable resources at its disposal, the GCC region is harnessing the power of renewable energy technologies to its full potential. The state of Qatar has set a benchmark with its implementation of massive innovative programs in deploying large solar power plants.”

To meet the expected increase of power demand in the region, Qatar Foundation (QF) has undertaken and completed the Solar-Smart Grid project, which is also the first commercial photovoltaic (PV) project to be granted approval for grid connection from Kahramaa. According to industry estimate, Qatar Foundation’s solar energy smart-grid-enabled systems generate up to 85 percent of Qatar’s total solar energy output.

Tapping its tremendous solar energy potential, Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) recently announced its plans to set up a solar map within the next year. The map will help identify locations across the country that receives high intensity of solar radiation to install solar cells for power generation.

Moreover, with Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, the government plans to enhance the use of renewable energy by building five solar stadiums using innovative solar-powered cooling technology that will mitigate the heat and cool the stadium. While the country has excellent solar energy potential, price competiveness and lack of a renewable energy policy framework poses a challenge to the growth of the solar power in the region.

Speakers from Kahramaa, Qatar Foundation, QEERI, QEWC and other industry leaders will discuss the various initiatives undertaken to promote solar energy in the country at the Power Qatar Summit 2015, incorporating the highly successful Solar Qatar Summit, on 26-27 October 2015 at The Ritz Carlton, Doha, Qatar.

For more event details, please log on to http://www.powerqatar.com/

About Expotrade 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 10 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar.

For more information, visit www.expotradeglobal.com

Super Grid Revolutionizing GCC Energy Markets

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Doha, Qatar, June 24, 2015: For a while now, countries have been addressing the implications of global warming and have taken grave measures to transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy. According to a report by a leading industry body, 57% of the world’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2050 and the energy demands will be met from eight different sources, that include, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, biomass, wind and solar.

Rapid developments have resulted in the availability of new technologies in generation, transmission and distribution of power. Additionally, the rising demand and high dependence on reliable electricity supply has resulted in the need for network configuration that supports the increase of high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, thereby guaranteeing smart, reliable and flexible power transmission.

There has been an exponential increase in the implementation of HVDC technology worldwide. One of the first HVDC lines to be set up was in 1986 across the English Channel, the IFA 2000 undersea connection that links up the national grids of France and UK. In the Middle East, the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) has commissioned the first ever 400-kV super grid that connects the power network of six Gulf countries, namely, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In a bid to combat the risk of blackouts on each national grid and share energy resources, GCCIA linked the electrical power network of all its member states.

With the HVDC main station located in Saudi Arabia, the interconnection grid covers 900 kms of high voltage overhead lines, a 37km submarine cable to Bahrain and seven 400kV substations making it the world’s biggest back-to-back HVDC converter station in the world with a capacity of 1800MW. Interestingly, the HVDC station also has a unique feature that enables the exchange of power to meet rising demand without excess generation.

GCCIA promotes reliable, competitive and sustainable electrical transmission services and the successful implementation of the GCC smart grid project has brought to the foray suggestions focusing on the interconnection of GCCIA to other regional and global grids. Implementing a large interconnection across different continents will play a pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities of the HVDC network and mitigating the power outage issues.

Enabling real-time decision-making, greater control and remote monitoring, the switch to smart grid technology also facilitates the growth and use of renewable power generation sources. Apart from establishing a high voltage direct current (HVDC) network that has the capability to transport and harness large amounts of electricity over long distances, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahrama) has forayed into multiple other ventures simultaneously to strengthen its transmission system, including the installation of solar (PV) systems in the distribution grid and introduction of smart meters.

The implementation of new technology in generation, transmission and distribution of power and improving interconnectivity in the region with HVDC will be highlighted at the Power Qatar Summit 2015, incorporating the highly successful Solar Qatar Summit, on 26-27 October, 2015 at Ritz Carlton, Doha, Qatar.

For more event details, please log on to http://www.powerqatar.com/

About Expotrade 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 10 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar.

For more information, visit www.expotradeglobal.com