With a Focus on Implementation and a Just Energy Transition, Optimism for COP27 in Egypt
October 25, 2022
The head of GE’s global COP27 team is optimistic about next month’s Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She is encouraged by the event’s twin focus on implementation, and a just and ambitious energy transition plan.
Mai Abdelhalim, North Africa President of GE International Markets, is based in Cairo, where she sees first-hand the preparations underway for the gathering at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt of global leaders, industry experts and others focused on combatting climate change.
“We really appreciate the emphasis this COP has on implementation – something that GE is passionate about as well,” she said.
Equally important, she said, is prioritizing “a just and ambitious plan for the energy transition – one that looks at sustainability, reliability, and affordability. We call this the ‘energy trilemma,’ and we believe that all three must be balanced as we work toward solutions as one global community, particularly for the 750 million people without access to power.”
Abdelhalim was speaking on a panel entitled “Energy Transition for Businesses” that was part of HSBC’s 2022 Global Emerging Markets Forum Energy Transition Series. The webinar panel was part of a three-day series in late September zeroing in on the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region.
To achieve this balanced forward progress, Abdelhalim said, there must be collaboration. “Not only will it take more than one type of technology, it also will take more than one company, one government, one non-profit entity, or any other organization to succeed” in achieving the Paris Agreement goals to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Examples of such collaboration in Egypt, she said, include a consortium that is working to lower CO2 and methane emissions, and identify energy savings opportunities from oil and gas facilities wholly or partially owned by the government. GE Digital is one of the consortium members, alongside Baker Hughes, Bechtel, Enppi, Petrojet, HSBC and the National Bank of Egypt.
GE Gas Power has signed agreements with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) to cooperate on reducing carbon emissions among EEHC’s facilities. These include today’s emission-reduction solutions, such as GE Gas Power’s Advanced Gas Path upgrades, converting simple-cycle power plants to combined cycle, and deploying portable and flexible aeroderivative gas turbines, as well as several low-carbon technologies that GE is advancing, such as hydrogen and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).
As well, she noted that GE Aviation is driving sustainability by supporting the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in Egypt and regionally, including through agreements with Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways on SAF-fueled test flights.
During the panel discussion, she outlined GE’s approach to the decarbonization challenge, beginning with the company’s steps to achieve net-zero in its own operations. GE’s approach is to provide customers with solutions today that can reduce emissions now, while also working on new solutions that will deliver a zero-carbon future.
“This means accelerating decarbonization in the near-term with more efficient technologies, such as coal-to-gas switching; and modernizing the grid through both physical and digital upgrades to strengthen resiliency and ensure the grid is ready to handle diverse sources of power generation, such as renewable energy,” she said.
Longer term, GE is working on future zero- and low-carbon technologies, including hydrogen; CCUS; superconducting generator technology for wind turbines; small modular reactors; and SAF.
In support of these efforts, governments can develop initiatives, policies and regulations, she said.
Examples of this include Egypt Vision 2030, and some of its early outcomes, such as an excess supply of electricity and continued investment in more renewable energy assets. This makes possible the country’s plan to develop a “Green Corridor” and green electrical grid dedicated to renewable energy production and hydrogen to supply industries that want to decarbonize their operations.
Read more here about GE’s actions to address climate change across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan region.