Kingdom’s municipal facilities to harness solar power

BAHRAIN’S municipal facilities will be completely powered by solar energy under a comprehensive futuristic plan, it has been revealed.

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf told the GDN yesterday that all new public coasts, parks, gardens and walkways would be powered by solar energy.

He said the plan will also include gradually phasing out conventional electricity grids from existing facilities and replacing with renewable energy panels.

The minister was speaking on the sidelines of the official opening of the first public coastline to be completely powered by solar energy.

The 2km coastline in Busaiteen covers an area of 43,000sqm and features a walkway, an open square, green areas, family resting spaces, restaurants and other public utilities and services.

The BD1.8 million project was officially opened by Deputy Premier Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa to coincide with the country’s National Sports Day.

It was also attended by Electricity and Water Affairs Minister Wael Al Mubarak and Supreme Council for Environment chief executive Dr Mohammed Bin Daina, along with senior government officials and councillors from Bahrain’s three municipal councils and members of the Capital Trustees Board.

“We are intensifying projects that improve the atmosphere and cool down the environment like water and agriculture spaces, while providing the public with the necessary infrastructure, which is safe and healthy and encourage a better lifestyle,” said Shaikh Khalid, who heads the ministerial committee for development projects and infrastructure.

“It is a proud moment; this is the first coastline to operate on clean renewable energy besides having new sports, recreational and services’ facilities.

“We have already opened walkways in Busaiteen, Ma’meer and Galali and the plans are for two others in Zinj and Zayed Town.”

Initiative to utilise solar power at public facilities was first tested in street lights at the Sitra Bridge Walkway.

“The Sitra Bridge Walkway was the first municipal facility to have lighting through solar power and now we have a fully-powered facility in the Busaiteen coastline,” said Mr Khalaf.

“It is our policy that newly built walkways, gardens and parks would be powered by solar energy and we are working on a comprehensive plan to phase out (electricity) from existing facilities.

“Our intentions are clear in that we want to shift from conventional power to systems that are run by solar panels, as in the lighting and facilities completely, here and at other attractions under consideration for phase two as we progress.

“The coastline is also set to have a beach and marina with us also exploring new innovative ideas that could be incorporated.”

Dr Bin Daina also told the GDN that a comprehensive and detailed environmental assessment was conducted for land reclamation to be carried out for the coastline project.

“What we are witnessing here is one of the most important recreational projects, not just municipal, as it allows the public to have an open space and enjoy sports and the sea view in a clean environment that uses solar energy, with the project easing pressure on the Arad Bay,” he said.

“We took part in this project by approving land reclamation through a study on the environmental impact assessment.

“As things progress, we will also be involved in selecting the swimming location, that isn’t deep, as we help with the beach and the marina.”

The coastline includes new roads, in both directions, and consists of 126 exercise equipment, a walkway, family rest areas, restaurants and cafes, and other services with car parking for 402 vehicles.

People with disabilities can also use the facilities, which incorporate their needs.

Three other coastal projects are also on the way in Muharraq: In Dair, Samaheej and Al Halat, which will be on the same lines as the Busaiteen project.



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