Spain’s Marc Marquez wrapped up his third straight MotoGP championship with victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday after title rival Andrea Dovizioso fell on the penultimate lap while trying to find a way past the Honda rider.The 25-year-old is now tied with Australian Mick Doohan on five premier class world titles, with only Italian’s Valentino Rossi (seven) and Giacomo Agostini (eight) having won more.Marquez, who had sealed two of his previous titles at Motegi, moved 102 points clear of Ducati’s Dovizioso with three races remaining.Dovizioso started on pole and led for most of the race before Marquez, who had started sixth on the grid, made his move with four laps left.Marquez had been on the Italian’s tail for much of the race and the pressure eventually told on the Ducati rider as he relinquished the lead.Dovizioso attempted to move back past Marquez on the penultimate lap but pushed it too far and came off his bike. He recovered but eventually finished 18th.That left Marquez knowing he was going to secure his fifth title as he completed his final lap, shaking his head in disbelief at the achievement.“I feel really, really good,” said Marquez after celebrating with the Honda team, who were joined by the company’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo at the manufacturer’s home race.“After Aragon I already felt, I already imagined that it will be here, but the good thing is when you have the first chance (to win the title), then you do it.”In a bizarre turn of events, Marquez dislocated his shoulder while celebrating on the track with British rider Scott Redding.“I just lay there on the asphalt and my brother and Jose put it in again,” motorsports website Crash reported the champion as saying.“It was not the first time; maybe it was my weak point of the season because I dislocated it many times during training at home.“In December I need to make a stop with the doctor and for next year it will be perfect.”Redding apologised for his role in the incident, adding: “Congratulations to @marcmarquez93 with 7 titles on there my babbbie. Once we were rivals “big rivals” now we have nothing but respect and fun!!! Sorry for the dislocated shoulder…..”Marquez pipped Dovizioso on the final lap of the Thailand Grand Prix last time out and while he did leave it quite as late at Motegi the result was the same.“I was able to follow Andrea, then I say okay, I will try to use the same strategy as Thailand, attack before the last lap because I felt like they had something,” he said.“I was pushing really hard and he did a mistake.”“I disappointed because he deserves to be here on the podium with us, but okay, the big boss will enjoy it.”Dovizioso, who was the championship runner-up to Marquez in 2017, will have to wait another year for a shot at his first MotoGP premier class title.“The battle (with Dovizioso) has been great all year,” said an exuberant Marquez.“Dovi had been a great opponent throughout the year and coming into this he was very, very fast.”LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was second after a brilliant performance that saw the Briton hang with Marquez and Dovizioso until the final stages.Another Spaniard, Alex Rins, was third for Suzuki.The next stop is the Australian Grand Prix next weekend.
Yaseen Hasan is a director in the Planning and Research Department within the Ministry of Electricity in Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Hasan participated in the Humphrey Fellowship, which brings young and mid-career professionals to the United States for a year of non-degree, graduate-level study, leadership development and professional collaboration. At WRI, Hasan worked on a project addressing mechanisms for rooftop PV cells and hot water systems in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.For the more than 5 million people living in Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, reliable energy is a luxury.Iraqi Kurds lacked power for an average of four hours a day in the spring and more than 13 hours a day in the winter in 2016 due to government-mandated electricity shut-offs, according to the Ministry of Electricity in Kurdistan. Electricity demand has surged in recent years due to economic development. The problem was exacerbated due to an influx of nearly 2 million refugees escaping ISIS and the Syrian war and internally-displaced people from other parts of Iraq, as well as a dramatic drop in oil prices. Iraqi Kurdistan’s inefficient energy infrastructure simply can’t keep up.The situation may seem oxymoronic in a region flush with oil and gas. But there’s another abundant and untapped energy source that could provide a solution—the sun.Tremendous Solar Potential in Iraqi KurdistanIraqi Kurdistan sits in a particularly sunny region. The average daily solar radiation is nearly 5 kilowatt hours per square meter (kWh/m2/day), slightly less than the daily potential of the state of California.Yet the region has yet to really invest in distributed solar power. There are currently only three small, privately developed solar PV sites, with a total generating capacity of 500 kilowatts (kW). The Iraqi-Kurdistan government hasn’t invested much in renewable energy infrastructure due to its huge oil and gas potential, paired with a recent fiscal crisis that began in 2014 due to disputes within the central government and the fast expansion of the Islamic State.Making Up for an Electricity ShortfallFacing growing electricity shortages, many Kurds have turned to private small diesel generators. But these have their limitations.They’re expensive—costing about $0.25 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), compared to the $0.02 that domestic consumers pay for electricity from the grid. They also can’t truly make up for the energy shortfall, operating a maximum of 6 to 8 hours per day. They’re also dirty, creating dangerous air pollution and emitting greenhouse gases. Re-inventing Iraqi Kurdistan’s Electricity SystemDistributed solar power can help Iraqi Kurdistan provide affordable, reliable electricity to its citizens. But to get there, the region needs significant energy system reform—both to fix underlying issues and provide an environment where renewable energy can grow. Two important things need to happen:1. The power sector needs a more effective management structure.Iraqi Kurdistan needs an independent system regulator and operator in order to develop well-designed policies, attract investors and help establish a competitive wholesale electricity market. Iraqi Kurdistan’s power system is currently vertically integrated—the Ministry of Electricity controls all facets, from customer access equipment to billing and accounting services. This is inefficient because there is confusion and disagreement within the ministry over which authorities are responsible for which facets of the system. Over the next 10 – 15 years, the power sector needs to, step by step, unbundle this structure.2. Several technical reforms must take place.Reducing the gap between electricity supply and demand requires many technical and economic reforms, both to integrate more renewable energy and to fix existing inefficiencies. The most important of these are:Implementing tariff system reforms meant to bridge the gap between cost and revenue and to decrease the energy waste caused by ineffective subsidies. Currently, Iraqi Kurdistan subsidizes up to 85 percent of each kilowatt-hour, putting a burden on the government’s budget and causing people to waste electricity because they don’t have to pay for it. This effectively props up fossil fuel generators and disadvantages solar.Not addressing rampant electricity theft is one of the reasons for Iraqi Kurdistan’s energy shortfall. The electric meters currently used are electromechanical, which allow people to connect high energy-consuming devices such as electric heaters and air conditioners to distribution lines without paying for their use. Using Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a new smart metering system, instead of existing traditional electricity meters could curtail this loss because it can detect unusually heavy demand. Smart meters can also be used to shut off service to consumers who don’t pay their bills.Providing natural gas to all five gas power plants as a means to increase their operational generation capacity.Establishing a new renewable energy agency with the goal of setting clean energy targets, which will help meet increasing demand over the next few years. Both consumers and utilities need incentives, as well as policy and financing mechanisms, to make the transition to renewable energy. These renewables can replace existing diesel generators.Establishing a new agency for energy efficiency and demand-side management to help meet demand.Iraqi Kurdistan has enormous potential for solar generation. But in order to achieve it, the region needs well-designed, smart policies that address the numerous challenges facing adoption of renewables.