Kuwait looks to wind in oil conservation drive

KUWAIT: Kuwait, one of the world's biggest oil producers, has launched a programme to install 2GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, amounting to 15% of the country's electricity supply.

Leaving Kuwait... the country want to save its oil for the export market

Wind will play a part in hitting this target, although the vast majority of this will come from solar power.

The aim behind the Shagaya Renewable Energy Master Plan is to help conserve Kuwait's oil reserves for the high-earning export market or for local industrial development, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions and diversifying the resource base.

The three-phase plan, drawn up by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), kicks off with demonstration projects comprising 10MW of wind capacity alongside 50MW of concentrated solar power and 10MW of photovoltaic to be built at Al-Shagaya, 100 kilometres west of Kuwait City, by 2017.

Of the 16 companies that made it through the prequalification round to build, operate and maintain the wind facility, "significantly" fewer submitted bids, but still "sufficient for a proper competition," said Dr Rolf-Stefan Alisch, head of power plants, solar thermal and desalination at German consultancy Fichtner, which helped develop the plan. A decision is expected in late February.

Phase two will add 930MW, followed by another 1GW by 2030, depending on the results of the demonstration phase. KISR will assess the best mix of technologies needed to meet local demand, particularly during the May-to-September peak. Another factor will be the number of sandstorms Kuwait experiences each year. These last two phases will be offered to investors on a build, own and operate basis for 25 years.