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Clean energy chance.

In his statement at the founding conference on the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Bonn, Germany, on January 26, Works Minister and Electricity and Water Authority in-charge, Fahmi bin Ali Al Jowder has rightly said, "God has blessed the Arab region and the Gulf states, in particular, with a huge wealth of renewable energy.

"Bahrain and the GCC states enjoy the highest solar radiation levels and despite moderate wind speeds this source can still be employed to generate energy and therefore these countries are qualified to use these sources of renewable energy.

"However, in spite of promising opportunities, the research and development programmes, transfer of technology and practical applications are still far less than what is available or required."

According to the geographical distribution of wind power for Bahrain (a wind atlas), several locations in the less-populated central and southern regions have good potential for wind farm development.

The mean wind power is up to 450 w/m2 with capacity factor of 29 per cent.

Six islands were included in the calculations namely, Bahrain (main island), Muharraq (weather station site), Umm Al Hassam, Sitra, Nabih Salih and Jedah.

Of these, Umm Al Hassam and Jedah are unpopulated.

A resolution of 100 x 100 metres was used in the calculations.

At 60 metres, the annual mean wind speed for the region is predicted to be 6.93 m/s with annual mean power density of 440 w/m2 and capacity factor of 29pc.

Renewable-energy inputs, (ie via solar and wind power), at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) could be harnessed to generate electricity for water desalination, air-conditioning, lighting as well as for irrigation.

If the covering of the BIC complex was covered by adhesively fixed modern photovoltaic cells, then 1.2MW of solar electricity could be generated.

If two horizontal-axis, at 150m height above the ground, three 75m bladed, wind turbines were to be installed at the BIC, then the output could reach 4MW.

Furthermore, if 10,000 Jojoba trees (a species renowned for having a low demand for water, needing only five irrigations per year in Bahrain and which remain green throughout the year) are planted near the circuit, then the local micro-climate would be improved with respect to human comfort as well as the local environment becoming cleaner.

It is time the government and businesses take the sun, wind and the sea seriously to produce clean energy for Bahrain, as energy is vital for a country's economic development.

Ramanathan Menon

Copyright 2009 Gulf Daily News

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jul 2, 2009
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