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Sharjah’s energy woes: Could Abu Dhabi be next?
Power cuts threaten more than a direct hit to our quality of life; they also make for really bad business.
May 31, 2010 3:28 by Katherine Azmeh
So what’s on the cards for others in the region – in particular, Dubai and Abu Dhabi? Should residents in neighboring emirates expect to be next? Probably not. At least, not to the same extent. Because Sharjah’s energy shortages stem in part from its dependence on other emirates.
“Sharjah doesn’t have the capacity within its own area to satisfy its own demand, so it’s dependent on imports” for about half of its consumption, the National reported last year, quoting Douglas Caskie, of an international consulting firm.
For this reason, power shortfalls have long been an issue in the northern Emirates, including Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain. It seems that Dubai and Abu Dhabi, though able to meet their own requirements, can’t carry the load of the whole country. “The issue for Abu Dhabi is that, because of the gas supply constraints, I’m not too sure it can make the capacity commitments to look after the requirements of its younger brothers in the other emirates” Caskie added.
The bad news is, things could get worse for the other emirates. The National quoted findings last year from the Federal National Council, indicating that around 1,000 commercial buildings in these areas have yet to be connected to the federal grid. As more new buildings come online, the gap between supply and demand will widen, with the likelihood that the shortages could intensify, or at the very least persist until resources and infrastructure address the significant increases in energy demand.
For policy makers, though, the writing is clearly on the wall, as the government in December inked $20 billion in contracts with a South Korean consortium led by KEPCO, to construct four nuclear energy plants.
“Within a decade, the Government expects the four plants to deliver almost a quarter of Abu Dhabi’s power and to be staffed by more than 2,000 engineers and other workers,” the National reported yesterday.
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