The formal synchronization of power grids of Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait in the first phase of the GCC Interconnection Power Grid was completed yesterday.
Ali Jassim al-Najjar, a manager at Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), said the co-ordination between the control centres of the GCC states has speeded up the completion of work and contributed in a great way for the success of the actual synchronisation.
He said that Eissa Hilal al-Kuwari, acting managing director of Kahramaa, personally supervised the synchronisation operations.
Najjar said the three phases of the project would be completely by 2011. “The project would ensure the transfer of surplus power from some states to power deficient states in the event of interruptions or emergencies in future,” he added.
The Gulf states, where summer temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), are boosting power output to support industrial expansion and growing populations. No scheduled power trades have yet taken place on the grid, though electricity is flowing on an unscheduled basis due to the flow of electrons, said Mohamed Sheikh, head of maintenance and operations at the Gulf Co-operation Council Interconnection Authority.
New power plants will need to come on stream to give the grid the extra supply needed, analysts said.
“These countries are electricity-starved during peak demand times, so there’s not a lot of redundant capacity,” said Raja Kiwan, a Dubai-based analyst with PFC Energy. “The bigger countries are investing in new generation, though it remains to be seen how much power can be sold on until that happens.”
Saudi Electricity Co, the state-controlled power producer, plans to spend $28bn in the next three years to meet rising demand in the Arab world’s largest economy. The effort will add about 13,000 megawatts of power and provide for a distribution system.
Qatar, the largest producer of liquefied natural gas, aims to more than double its generation capacity over the next two years, HE the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said in May. That will allow the state to export 500MG of electricity during peakdemand summer months within three years, he said.
Kuwait’s peak consumption may exceed 10,200MG this summer, Meshan al-Otaibi, an assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Electricity and Water, said recently. That leaves 5% to 10% spare capacity, short of the 15% to 20% spare supply needed to safely meet demand spikes.
Surges in demand or faults at plants or on power lines can cause grids to fail, cutting off electricity to homes and businesses. Adding capacity and linking regional supplies to let power move more freely may help provide smoother power supply.
Improving reliability on the grid to avoid outages is one of the authority’s main objectives, Sheikh said.
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