Re­new­able en­ergy: From oil al­ter­na­tive to eco­nomic project

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

Thanks to col­lec­tive in­ter-agency ef­fort to ma­te­ri­al­ize the vi­sion of Kuwait’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship, so­lar and wind en­er­gies have be­come a tan­gi­ble re­al­ity af­ter AlShaqaya Re­new­able En­ergy Com­plex went op­er­a­tional. The com­plex has been hooked to the na­tional power grid re­cently, thus adding nearly 23 mil­lion kilo­watts per hour in the first six months to the coun­try’s gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity. Kuwait’s at­tempts to tap into re­new­able en­ergy sources date back to the 1980s; projects in this sec­tor came to the fore in the na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plan in 2010 un­der the vi­sion of His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for cov­er­ing 15 per­cent of the de­mand for elec­tric­ity from re­new­ables through 2030. Based on an oil price of $45 per bar­rel, the vi­sion aims to save up to $2.5 bil­lion a year that would be spent on elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated from fos­sil fuel. The Min­istry of Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter, Kuwait Na­tional Petroleum Com­pany (KNPC) and Kuwait Institute for Sci­en­tific Re­search (KISR) worked to­gether to turn re­new­able en­ergy from com­peti­tors to oil - the main source of na­tional in­come, into an in­vest­ment project with high eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­ment re­turns.

Lo­cated in the western area of Kuwait, AlShaqaya Re­new­able En­ergy Com­plex opens new hori­zons for pri­vate in­vestors in the com­ing stages, thus pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion in this field, Chair­man of the Com­plex Dr Salem Al-Ha­jraf said. “The Com­plex con­sists of two power-gen­er­at­ing plants - one so­lar and the other wind,” he said.

“The to­tal out­put of clean en­ergy from the Com­plex amounts to 23 mil­lion kw/h in the first six months equiv­a­lent to the power pro­duced from 40,000 bar­rels of oil worth KD 600,000 (some $1.9 mil­lion),” he re­vealed. “The un­con­ven­tional en­ergy is highly cost­ef­fec­tive. The en­ergy pro­duc­tion of the Com­plex costs in the first six months only KD 400,000 (nearly $1.3 mil­lion), so the dif­fer­ence be­tween the cost of con­ven­tional and un­con­ven­tional en­ergy prices is KD 160,000 or $500.000,” Dr Ha­jraf stated.

Tap­ping into clean en­ergy saved en­vi­ron­ment from 15,000 tons of car­bon diox­ide that could be emit­ted from fos­sil fuel in this pe­riod, he noted. “The three-phase Com­plex is a pi­o­neer­ing project, jointly de­vel­oped by KISR and KNPC in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the min­istry. Its con­struc­tion works started in 2013. When its fi­nal phase is com­plete in 2030, the Com­plex will spare up to 12.5 mil­lion bar­rels of oil a year or 3-4 per­cent of the to­tal oil con­sump­tion,” he added. With a to­tal pop­u­la­tion of 4.4 mil­lion peo­ple, Kuwait con­sumes 350,000 bar­rels of oil per day, val­ued at $15.7 mil­lion, to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity and de­sali­nate sea­wa­ter. The power gen­er­ated from the Com­plex will grow from 20 megawatts in the cur­rent first phase to 50 megawatts in 2018, 1,000 megawatts in 2020 and 2,000 megawatts in the third phase in 2025.

Un­der­sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter En­gi­neer Mo­ham­mad Bushehri pro­jected the do­mes­tic de­mand for oil to ex­pand to one mil­lion bpd by 2035 when the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion will grew to 5.5 mil­lion. He said the to­tal power gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity of the coun­try amounts to 16,700 megawatts, not­ing that the elec­tri­cal load this sum­mer has hit 13,800 megawatts, which forced tap­ping into the po­ten­tials of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy. — KUNA

An ex­am­ple of re­new­able en­ergy used do­mes­ti­cally. So­lar pan­els at Al-Shaqaya Re­new­able En­ergy Com­plex. So­lar pan­els to pro­duce en­ergy for schools. An­other ex­am­ple of re­new­able en­ergy used do­mes­ti­cally. Re­new­able en­ergy is har­nessed to pro­vide schools...

KUWAIT: An artist’s ren­di­tion for the Sha­gaya re­new­able en­ergy project’s site. — KUNA photos En­vi­ron­ment Pub­lic Author­ity’s Di­rec­tor Sheikh Ab­dul­lah Al-Ah­mad Al-Hu­moud Al-Sabah tours Al-Shaqaya Re­new­able En­ergy Com­plex.

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