In the special supplement on the Qatar district cooling sector in CCME’s October issue, as an aside to the main story, we ran a sidebar titled: The cup that cheers. Here is an excerpt, with additional observations, now that Qatar has won the 2022 World Cup bid.
Spurred by the experience of successfully hosting Doha 2006 Asian Games, Qatar, a tiny desert nation has staked its claim to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, vying with Japan, Australia South Korea, and even the United States. This, despite the fact that it has never qualified for the World Cup.
The bold bid displays the quiet confidence Qatar has in its ability and resources to create world-class facilities for the international event – infrastructure, stadiums, games village for the teams and hotels and entertainment outlets for about 700,000 visitors it hopes to attract. It has plans to pump $4 billion to build nine new stadiums and renovate three existing ones. All this hypothetically translates into big construction projects and spells good news for the district cooling sector.
The country appears not to be worried that the event will take place in June and July when the mercury soars. It has plans to keep the pitch temperatures at about a comfortable 27° centigrade. The district cooling industry sees immense opportunities here, as it believes it will have a major role to play in the endeavour. There is palpable enthusiasm in the sector about the prospect.
“The bid for the 2022 soccer World Cup will boost the demand for district cooling,” said Jean François Chartrain (former COO, Marafeq Qatar). “The event is only the emerging part of the iceberg. When a country hosts such an event, other collateral benefits come into play. We can cool down open areas with the best efficiencies. Such events offer an opportunity to find new solutions.” (quoted from CCME, January, 2010)
Our observations now …
This has become evident in the light of the fact that authorities in Qatar have wasted no time in gearing themselves for an event that is more than a decade away. The Government has announced that it would launch 200 projects, according to a news report in Peninsula dated December 6. (‘Qatar to launch 200 projects in first quarter of next year’) “Qatari planners met here yesterday and decided to launch a staggering 200 projects in different areas by the first quarter of next year, saying these ventures would herald the start of preparations for the 2022 World Cup Soccer,” said the report
While these mega projects will create tremendous opportunities for the district cooling and allied sectors, it is also rumoured that the country might move the world soccer event to January. If true, what implications this will have in terms of cooling the facilities is yet to be computed.
For now, Qatar seems to have shrugged off concerns about the possibility of a post-event scenario of being left with unutilised mega structures. While the bid was significant in itself, winning it has put the stamp of international endorsement on the country’s stature and economic heft. It also indicates a changing World Order.