RICS knowledge partner at realty meet

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are the knowledge partners at the  11th NATCON of CREDAI. According to a release, RICS will help deliberate on new drivers of change affecting Indian realty.

The conference titled ‘Igniting Change in Indian Realty’ will bring multiple stakeholders together with a focus on promoting speed, efficiency, innovation, technology, professionalism and new sources of capital.

The 11th NATCON (National Conference) of CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India) is being held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.                                                                                                                                      
RICS is lending support to the NATCON organising committee with session specific content, reflecting on issues relating to Indian realty and its future course. The conference theme -‘Igniting Change in Indian Realty’ has been conceptualized by RICS in conjunction with the NATCON committee. 

The conference will commence with a session ‘The Big Picture for Real Estate in the Future - Vision 2030’ that will paint a picture of Indian Real estate from different perspectives – a developer’s vision for Indian real estate; challenges & imperatives for building a sustainable future, an international investor’s perspective of where India stands in global investment map; top trends that will shape the future of the industry and an urban futurist vision for real estate in 2030. 

RICS believes that it is now time to discuss specific ‘catalysts of change’ that will help drive the sector to become more productive and competitive at the global level and help it to be able to benchmark itself to international standards. Conference sessions therefore will dwell on specific aspects and tools that will shed light on various drivers such as speed, innovation, technology, professionalism, institutionalization, capital and ambition - all of which act as ‘catalysts of change’(Refer to Annexure I) for the real estate sector and the built-environment at large. 

The topics will be demonstrated through a combination of master classes, case studies and presentations. These will challenge the industry to look inward with a clear objective of initiating change that will raise the bar for the built environment in the country and help Indian developers in the years to come.


Google invests in large US solar power plant

Google Inc. is investing $168 million in a new solar energy power plant being developed by an American company, BrightSource Energy Inc., in the Mojave Desert in southern California. BrightSource’s Ivanpah solar electric system will generate 392 gross MW of  clean solar energy.

“The investment makes business sense and will help ensure that one of  the world’s largest solar energy projects is completed,” said Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Business Operations.   “This is our largest investment to date, and we’ve now invested over $250 million in the clean energy sector.  We’re excited about Ivanpah because our investment will help deploy a compelling solar energy technology that provides reliable clean energy, with the potential to significantly reduce costs on future projects.”

Solar power towers, which have been successfully demonstrated in the U.S. and abroad on a smaller scale, are based on a relatively simple idea.  The technology works by using a field of tracking mirrors, called heliostats, to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a solar receiver on top of a tower. 

The solar receiver generates steam, which then spins a traditional turbine and generator to make electricity. Power towers are claimed to be very efficient because the tracking mirrors focus a tremendous amount of solar energy onto a small area to produce steam at high pressure and temperature [up to 1,000 deg. F].

Several large solar projects are in the works in the sunny regions of the United States and around the globe, but Ivanpah will be the first solar power tower system of  this scale.  The Ivanpah power tower will be approximately 450 feet tall and will use 173,000 heliostats, each with two mirrors.  The project is being carried out by Bechtel Corporation of  San Francisco, a major engineering firm.  Work on the project began in October 2010 and will be completed in phases.  The plant is expected to be fully operational in 2013.

BrightSource Energy Inc., which has its headquarters in Oakland, California, is a privately held company with operations in the U.S. and Israel.  The company’s Solar Energy Development Centre  in Israel’s Negev Desert  is producing the world’s highest  temperature and pressure solar thermal steam.

Achal Narayanan

First Disney resort in mainland China

Construction work on the first Disneyland amusement park in mainland China,  which promises to become “a world-class family vacation destination”, has commenced, with an impressive ground-breaking ceremony in Shanghai early in April. The ceremony featured traditional Chinese drum music, a female soloist singing in Mandarin,  and a 50-voice children’s choir from Shanghai, China’s largest city.

The Shanghai Disney Resort, which is scheduled to open in about five years, will have two themed hotels, a large retail, dining and entertainment venue, as well as recreational facilities, a lake and various parking and transportation hubs.  The cost of building the resort and theme park is estimated at more than $4 billion, to be shared between the Walt Disney Company and the  Shanghai city government, which will retain a majority interest in the project.

The new Disney resort is set in 963 acres of open space, which can be expanded at a later date if necessary.  It is expected to attract more than seven million visitors in its first year.  The resort is planned to be part of an ‘international tourism resort’ zone not far from Shanghai’s main international airport in Pudong. Robert A Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, said at the ground-breaking ceremony, “Our Shanghai resort will be a world-class family vacation destination that combines classic Disney characters and storytelling with the uniqueness and beauty of China.  Working with our Chinese partners, the resort will be both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.”  

The Mayor of Shanghai, Han Zheng, said, “Disney is a classic urban entertainment brand.  This project will help improve Shanghai’s profile as a world-famous tourism destination and lend a big boost to the development of the culture and leisure industries of Shanghai and the Yangtze River delta.”

Geetha Balachandran