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GE highlights energy sustainability initiatives to manage Middle East's ecological footprint at Arab Forum for Environment and Development

GE is highlighting its energy sustainability initiatives and commitment to complement the efforts of Middle East governments to manage their ecological footprint at the Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED) to be held from November 29 to 30, at the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel in Beirut.

GE is one of the sponsors of the event, which will discuss the challenges and opportunities in promoting sustainability options in the Middle East to reduce the ecological footprint, which according to estimates is among the highest in some of the Gulf countries. 

One of the focal areas of discussion will be GE's ecomagination commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today's environmental challenges while driving economic growth.

Nabil Habayeb, GE's President & Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said: "A key challenge in driving economic growth today is the need to manage national ecological assets judiciously. The Middle East region, more than ever before, is focusing on promoting sustainable growth through concerted initiatives aimed at promoting energy and water use efficiency, while limiting the impact of developmental programs on the environment." 

He added: "With a history of over 80 years in the region, GE is uniquely positioned to share our advanced competencies in energy resource use management, which is critical to reducing the ecological footprint. We have already introduced our ecomagination products in the region, and we will continue to invest in localized innovation and R&D to further promote sustainable growth. AFED offers an ideal platform to share our perspective and interact with leading public and private sector entities to highlight the message of sustainability, which requires an integrated approach involving all stakeholders." 

Habayeb will present GE's focus on sustainability, especially in the energy sector, at a panel discussion to be also addressed by governmental and private sector leaders in energy and environment. He will highlight the key opportunities in driving the energy sector, especially by tapping alternative sources, and the need to enhance the operational efficiencies of the existing energy and water infrastructure. 

GE has established strong public and private partnerships in the energy, oil & gas, aviation and healthcare sectors across the Middle East, including in Lebanon, where GE power generation gas turbines and Jenbacher engines have been installed in Bekaa Valley area (Baalbek) and the South (Saida and Tyre) region. 

Promoting sustainable best practices, GE has delivered Jenbacher gas engines for a solid waste treatment facility and a sewage treatment facility in Sidon with a capacity to generate 2MW of power. These are being used in the capturing of methane gas, which is emitted from municipality solid waste landfills. The captured methane gas is used as a fuel injected in GE Jenbacher engines to producer power. The electricity generated will be used for the treatment facilities and for a plastic recycling facility, with any excess to be sold. GE is also providing energy services to the Electricite Du Liban, including spare parts, repairs and other services as required for the maintenance of the installed GE turbines.

GE's ecomagination portfolio added 34 new products and services and booked $21bn in revenues in 2011. This brings total ecomagination sales to US$105 billion and portfolio offerings to 142 since launch, highlighting the successful balance between development and environmental responsibility. GE also invested more than $2bn in R&D to develop new ecomagination products and technology in 2011. The money was part of the US$10 billion invested in ecomagination research over the first half of the decade.

More than 500 delegates from across the Arab world are expected to attend the AFED Annual Conference, which this year will discuss the ecological deficit in the Arab world, the real environmental performance of Arab countries, a comparison between ecological footprint and the GDP and how sustainability can be achieved as the Arab population is projected to double to about 800 million by 2040. An Ecological Footprint Atlas exploring resource constraints in the Arab countries from the perspective of the regenerative capacity of nature is also being published by AFED. The Atlas is produced by the Global Footprint Network, which has been commissioned by AFED to undertake the study.

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