Palm District Cooling, a division of Palm Utilities, a leading company in providing integrated utility solutions, discussed urgent issues affecting the region's increasing energy consumption during its participation as one of the sponsors of the 4th International District Cooling Conference and Trade Show, held at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City from October 11 to 13, 2009. District cooling has emerged as a critical tool in optimising energy use in the GCC with studies showing that up to 11 billion cubic metres of gas supplies can be saved annually if half of the region's air conditioning needs are addressed through district cooling solutions.
Shafiq Khoori, Managing Director, Palm District Cooling, joined a panel discussion on the topic "An Open Conversation about Reliability, Profitability and Maximizing Returns in the District Cooling Industry" during the conference. Panellists shared their insights on the opportunities and challenges facing the district cooling industry as expansion programs across the region are expected to increase the GCC's district cooling capacity by threefold to 5.5 million tonnes of refrigeration (TR) by 2011-2012, while an additional 6.5 TR is expected to be ready by 2015.
"Power consumption in the GCC has been increasing steadily over the years and is predicted to sustain a 7.7 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2007 to 2015. We can expect this figure to further increase in view of the ongoing developments taking place across the region. It is therefore imperative that we adopt innovative solutions to bring down power consumption to more sustainable levels," said Khoori.
"District cooling will play an important role in our collective efforts to optimise energy efficiency across all countries in the GCC. In fact, during the summer season, statistics have shown that cooling buildings accounted for up to 70 per cent of peak power demand. Palm District Cooling is ready to offer its insights and expertise to assist private and public institutions in capitalising on the strategic and long-term benefits of district cooling solutions. The International District Cooling Conference provided a tremendous boost to our efforts to expand our presence in the GCC market and build strategic partnerships," he added.
During the conference, Palm District Cooling presented its portfolio of high-profile projects in the UAE, including the Gardens Residential Complex, Jumeirah Islands, Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Palm Jumeirah. Dubai, in particular, has become a major market for the district cooling industry in view of the emirate's green building policy.
Saudi Arabia was another major focus of the conference as the Kingdom offers strong long-term market potential. Recent studies have shown that Saudi Arabia is expected to account for around half of the GCC's operating capacity by 2015.
Palm Utilities, through its subsidiaries Palm District Cooling (PDC) and Palm Water (PW), has been established to address the region's unique requirements in the distinctly critical areas of district cooling and water services. On top of its expansion activities within the UAE, Palm Utilities has also revealed plans to pursue new core business activities within other utilities, including sustainable energy and environmental waste management. The company also plans to expand its operations overseas and has initiated talks for new business prospects with potential partners in the Middle East, India and the rest of Asia.
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