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Sun Sets on Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Solar Project
Saudi energy officials familiar with the project told the journal that the $200 billion installation was on hold. One official said that no land had been chosen for the project, and officials were unsure how its development would be structured or if it would receive government subsidies.
"Everyone is just hoping this whole idea would just die," the official told The Wall Street Journal.
Saudi Arabia currently generates most of its energy from fossil fuels and does not yet generate any power from solar energy, despite its sunny climate and large deserts, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has initiated plans to diversify its energy portfolio, Deutsche Welle explained.
The announcement in March of the solar project, which would have ultimately generated 200 gigawatts of energy, more than three times what Saudi Arabia uses each day, was a splashy way to introduce that transition. It was to continue a partnership between Saudi Arabia and Japanese tech multinational SoftBank. The two had already teamed up for a $100 billion Vision Fund to finance new and innovative technologies and companies, including renewable energy in the desert country.
"It is easy to sway or grab one's attention" a senior Saudi government adviser told The Wall Street Journal of the solar project. "But difficult to do any execution."
The hold-up of the ambitious solar farm does not mean that Saudi Arabia has turned its back on renewable energy. Instead, advisers and officials told The Wall Street Journal that the country is working on a more practical strategy that will be announced in late October.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund said in a statement Monday that the country was still developing "large-scale multi-billion-dollar" solar projects with SoftBank and other organizations. "These plans to develop a leading champion for the industry remain on track and in-line with the timeline that would be anticipated for projects of this scale and ambition," the statement continued.
SoftBank declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal story.
PV Magazine pointed out that the stalling of the project was not entirely unexpected.
"Saudi Arabia has a long history of announcing big numbers on a long timeframe, and these are usually subject to substantial revision," head of solar at Bloomberg NEF Jenny Chase told PV Magazine when the project was first announced.
The first leg of the project was supposed to be funded with $1 billion from the Vision Fund and generate 7.2 gigawatts of energy within two years. The Vision Fund has not made public whether it has put any money towards the project so far, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.