Kuwait's Sustainable Energy Ambitions

Kuwait has put into actions plans for generating 10% of electric supply through renewable energy within the next 10 years - Southeast Asian Ethanol Report.
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Nov. 1, 2011 - PRLog -- The Gulf state of Kuwait, the fifth biggest producer in OPEC, has announced it aims to supply 10 per cent of its electricity supply with renewables by 2020 – double what it contemplated less than a year ago. While it may not seem a high percentage, renewable energy generation in Kuwait currently consists of a single 50kW turbine, and its energy demands will more than double in the next decade. Kuwait is trying to free up oil for export and expand its generation capacity to support increased tourism, manufacturing and home building in a $112 billion development program. To meet its clean-energy target, which exceeds the 7 percent goal set by Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait next must gather data on sunshine and wind speeds. There are already a number of projects in the pipeline to build up renewable energy capacity, including a study at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research to build 10MW wind turbines and a proposal for a 50MW solar PV plant. The overarching aim of the new target is to allow renewables to supply domestic power, freeing up more oil for export. The country's electricity demand is currently growing at eight per cent a year, raising concerns that it could soon outstrip supply. In the summer of 2010, 99 per cent of capacity was used up.

Domestic oil consumption is heavily subsidized. Consumers pay around $0.07/KWh for electricity from oil-based generation, a fraction of its cost of production. The country imports liquefied natural gas to supply its power stations when demand peaks in the summer months. Kuwait is also planning to build a new oil refinery at a cost of at least 4 billion dinars to help meet domestic demand. Less than 1 percent of the power supply is from renewable sources. Kuwait only has a smattering of rooftop panels for solar hot water and electricity, is about to build its first utility-scale wind plant, a relatively small installation of 10MW, this year, and also proposes to build a hybrid gas/solar plant with 220MW of base-load gas supplemented by 60MW of solar. A separate 50MW solar PV plant is proposed and solar is also being considered for enhanced oil recovery.

The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research is studying building wind turbines capable of adding 10 megawatts to the main electricity grid and which may be started this year. Its grandest solar vision could be a massive solar-powered international airport that has been designed by Foster & Partners. The sweeping roof, extending over three separate wings that will each extend 1.2 kilometres out from a 30 metre tall central dome, will be covered in enough photovoltaic panels to provide for the airport’s entire energy needs.

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Tags:Kuwait, Opec, Electricity, Renewables, Clean Energy, Oil, Natural Gas, Solar, Wind Turbines, Ethanol
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