Power in the GCC
February 8, 2010 4:58 by kippreport
Currently, most of the power generation in the region is being fueled by gas and oil. In the UAE, gas provides around 88 percent and oil 12 percent of generated electricity, Kuwait-based Global Investment House said in a report in 2008. A similar scenario exists for all the other GCC countries.
But with gas prices increasing and supplies decreasing, the countries have now started looking at alternate sources to produce electricity such as coal, nuclear and solar.
Last month, the UAE awarded a $20 billion contract to a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation to build four nuclear plants by 2020. The UAE said that it looked at nuclear power generation because nuclear energy plants are among the most efficient in producing electricity, emit no greenhouse gases and will help create new service industries and jobs in the country.
However Saudi has said that it is not looking at nuclear energy for now and will look at solar energy projects. In June last year, Saudi Aramco and Japanese refining company Showa Shell signed an agreement to develop a solar power plant in the kingdom which is expected to be completed by 2011. Another solar power plant is due to be built at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
Although the GCC countries do not have any joint project to produce solar energy, they are planning to launch joint research and study projects and “exchange information on the production of solar power,” Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, Qatar’s deputy prime minister and minister of energy and industry, told Emirates Business last month. “GCC countries should deal with this issue seriously, because we have a strong source of energy in sun that should be exploited,” he said.
Apart from solar energy, the region is also looking at coal as an alternative; in 2008, the UAE signed a $2 billion deal with the Mining Corporation Berhad of Malaysia to build the region’s first coal fired power station in Ajman.
The Oman Power & Water Procurement Company is also conducting a feasibility study for a coal fired power and desalination plant to be located at either Barka or Sohar and operational by 2011.