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South Australia commits A$150 million to renewable energy fund

LONDON: The government of South Australia has just announced it will invest A$150 million (US$120 million) in renewable energy projects as part of its Renewable Technology Fund. The pledge is the latest in a series of climate commitments and achievements from the state, which is a leader on climate action in Australia.

South Australia, which sits as The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance Asia-Pacific Co-Chair, is aiming to invest A$10 billion (US$8 billion) in low carbon projects and source half of its electricity from renewables by 2025 – a goal that was achieved last year, almost eight years ahead of schedule.

“The most telling statistic is that, since 1990, South Australia has cut emissions by 8% – yet expanded its economy by 70%,” remarks Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia, demonstrating how the clean economy drives innovation, jobs and prosperity.

“It is vital that jurisdictions take part in global networks such as The Climate Group’s States & Regions Allianceand sign the Under2 MOU” to become part of the Under2 Coalition, he adds. “It is vital because such endeavors involve sub-national governments, and sub-nationals are the ones doing some of the most valuable work today.”

Mars invests US$1 billion in sustainability

LONDONRE100 member and global confectionery producer Mars, Inc. has pledged to invest about US$1 billion to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its supply chain by 67% by 2050 – and to be at the forefront of the new low carbon economy.

Unveiled today, the “Sustainable in a Generation Plan” builds on the company’s efforts which have already led to a 29% reduction of its emissions against 2007 levels. Mars wants to be fossil fuel free by 2040 in its own operations, and is increasing its renewable energy supply across its sites worldwide to reach this target.

“We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do but also because it’s good business,” said Grant Reid, CEO, Mars, commenting on the plan. “We expect to have a competitive advantage from a more resource efficient supply chain, and from ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is doing well.”

“We congratulate Mars on their leadership in delivering a cleaner, prosperous economy,” said Amy Davidsen, Executive Director – North America, The Climate Group. “Mars was one of the first members of RE100 and is at the forefront of an unstoppable market force to transition to 100% renewable energy.

“This announcement comes less than two weeks before the opening of Climate Week NYC, the collaborative space for businesses and policymakers to implement the Paris Agreement, in order to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

Securing hazardous waste in Uganda

The Nyamasoga Landfill in Uganda is a critically important hazardous waste facility in the oil-rich Hoima District. The 44 ha site is in close proximity to drilling pads and a proposed refinery. The site is also something of a trailblazer. In the absence of any governing hazardous waste barrier standards in the country for such a site, the facility owner chose a fully modernized design with geosynthetics from NAUE to environmental security.

EnviroServ Uganda (ESU) operates the facility, which has been designed to handle drilling fluids, mud cuttings, and other industrial and processing wastes not suitable for municipal solid waste burial.

Jones & Wagener was retained to design the hazardous waste containment strategy, including waste cells, leachate management systems, stormwater management, access roads, and more. J & W’s modular solution called for Carbofol® geomembranes, Bentofix® geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs), and Secugrid® geogrids to solve the site’s challenging parameters.

The local soils were characterized by sandy clays with pockets of gravel interspersed. Weathered rock was present between 2.5 and 4.5m below the surface. This limited the maximum cell depth to 5m, to minimize rock excavation and prevent groundwater perching.

Additionally, the area was hilly, including being extremely steep at some edges. The design engineers created a C-shaped cell plan on the north side of the property, with the center points of the C having the lowest elevation. This is where the primary stormwater management cells were set, creating a very efficient design.

With only a highway running along the southern edge of the plot, access roads were constructed along all other side of the atypical, wedged-shaped location.

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Oman: Sur Desalination Plant increases its drinking water production capacity by 51,000 cubic metres per day.

Veolia in partnership with the national Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has celebrated the extension of the contract covering the Sur Desalination Plant.

An additional 51,000 cubic metres will be added to the existing 80,000 cubic metres produced daily by the Sur facility, the first independent desalination project in Oman. On this occasion, the two partners celebrated the 100 millionth cubic meter of drinking water produced by the plant.

“We are delighted to work on the expansion of the plant. The opportunity allows Veolia to demonstrate once again our strong commitment to Resourcing the World,” commented Xavier Joseph, CEO of Veolia Gulf Countries.

160km south-west of Muscat, Veolia is working to combat water resource depletion by treating over 200,000 cubic metres of seawater every day. 350,000 residents of the Sharqiyah region are supplied by the Sur facility which uses reverse osmosis to produce 80,000 cubic metres of drinking water every day.

The plant recycles over 97% of the energy used for the treatment, saving 40% more energy than a conventional facility. Seawater is channelled from 28 beach wells and extracted from a depth of up to 80m. With high pressure (60 bars), the plant also eliminates chemical pre-treatment and has a minimal impact on marine and coastal ecology.

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For 20 years Veolia has been supporting Colombia’s development

Colombia is among the top 30 world powers. It is not science fiction but the result of an extensive study conducted in 2010 by the HSBC[1] bank to look at where the emerging economies will be by 2050.

Ranked 39th richest country in the world in 2010, Colombia should climb to 26th place within 35 years. Per capita income will almost quadruple in the meantime, while the local population will rise from around fifty million inhabitants today to more than 60 million at this date. With a GDP growth rate of 5%[2] on average per year, Colombia has made notable progress in the region. A growth which lies mainly on mine & oil industries and massive investment in urban infrastructure to build Colombia’s future.