Power trip

As the Olympics get into full swing in Beijing, it is worth noting the success so far of the power supply.

As the Olympics get into full swing in Beijing, it is worth noting the success so far of the power supply.

There were some fears prior to the Games that blackouts in the city would bring events to a sudden and unceremonious halt. However the power has been steady and the events, up to this point, have been unaffected. For the Middle East a similar threat to power supplies is now on the horizon.

In the August 2008 issue of MEP Middle East Vicente Raurich, group business development, Siemens was quoted on the gap that has been closing between power supply and power consumption in this region.

He reported that the demand for electricity will rise by 50%, but the rise in power supply at 30% will not match this. It is not the first time this worry has been expressed by an industry expert; two months ago City Cool chief executive officer Fouad Younan described it as "the biggest hurdle the region is facing."

Through the green building guidelines being introduced in Emirates such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, savings will be made and a change in the attitudes of developers is being forced. Despite these encouraging moves the onus must also be on individual companies to embrace energy saving policies. Emaar recently retro-fitted water saving devices into its properties across Dubai; perhaps it is time that companies followed suit with power saving initiatives.

MEP consultants and contractors sometimes have their hands tied on this issue by cost-cutting developers, but the facts are clear. The sooner the power problem is addressed, the easier it will be to solve.

Educating developers and owners only the long-term personal gains as well as the general benefit of saving energy is crucial. And just as a sufficient power supply has lit up this year's Olympics, the Middle East needs the same to light up its vision of the future.

Peter Ward is the assistant editor of MEP Middle East.

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