How will Qatar Cool be involved in further infrastructural development in Qatar?
Growth in terms of establishing new districts in Qatar is coming close to a slowdown. The market is going into a consolidation phase, where we potentially look at our growth in terms of acquisitions and consolidation. We see development through potential acquisitions and on the fringe of developments. There will not be a new Lusail or a new The Pearl, but there will be new districts established as the country expands and the economy grows. We have substantial experience; we have been in the market for a long time and have a presence internationally in terms of identity. Therefore, it makes sense that the country should look at Qatar Cool as a company champion to be presented globally. With Qatar Cool we have created a national champion that is able to compete beyond the borders of Qatar. However, we need to be bigger than we are today. Currently we service the two biggest districts in Qatar, and we have to work with the government to regulate high-density areas that could potentially be zoned as district cooling. We are talking with government entities to advocate the benefits of district cooling so that they can work in assessing the landscape within Qatar as to where district cooling makes sense. There are specific zones that are high density but use conventional cooling, which is much more costly and inefficient.
Will you consider further international expansion within the foreseeable future?
We have always pushed to explore possible expansions beyond the borders of Qatar. We will stick to district cooling; we are experts in our field and can add value to every development that exists. However, our current priority is Qatar; district cooling is much more viable here than in many other places. If we were going beyond, we would have already capitalized as much as we could within the region itself. In other regions of the world like Asia, the scale of projects in other places is often much smaller. We could potentially invest in those areas, but it would require a great deal of effort for a marginal impact; whereas in this region, we know the lay of the land and understand the environment and cultural norms, so it is easy for us to access those markets.
As 70% of the generated electricity in the Middle East is used for air conditioning purposes, how important is it to focus on efficiency and energy saving?
Our prime existence is energy efficiency. At the front end of energy production, efficiency produces substantial savings because it is offset by a reduction in electricity. As of today, we have saved the country over 1 billion kWH of electricity, which is the equivalent of reducing over 600 million tons of CO2. In addition, initiatives like Tarsheed have had a huge impact on energy efficiency because it does not mandate through regulations on specific individuals. Having utilities for free sometimes encourages bad behavior. Tarsheed woke people up, establishing that water and energy are important for us. We have shown that through signing an MoU with KAHRAMAA to support Tarsheed and its objectives. We play a key role because energy and the environment are important, not only for Qatar's sustainability, but also for its existence in the long run. We have also signed an MoU with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) to study the oxidization of sewer fluid. We also have 20 initiatives with universities and companies on specific projects, signing MoUs with numerous entities. If we aggregate all the companies that are working on this, it will make a dent in terms of starting a trend toward meeting the 2030 national goals, which outline protecting the environment and spurring social development.