Round-up of global electricity developments
Aug 11, 2010 - Tamsin Carlisle - The National
A regional power grid is in the making, but energy subsidies continue to discourage investment in electricity projects as power demand rises. More countries are seeking to develop nuclear power.
Most states are exploiting gas to expand power generation. Renewable energy development is progressing faster than in the Gulf.
The government plans US$20 billion (Dh73.45bn) of investment in gas and power by 2017, with a 2,000mw gas-fired power plant to be completed later this year. A 25mw integrated gas and solar project should start up next month.
Abu Dhabi has provided a $50 million loan for upgrades to a power plant and the island’s electricity grid, which is slated for connection to the UAE grid in January.
The government has disbursed only 10 per cent of funds gathered from consumers to back renewable energy projects after rejecting dozens of applications.
The government has cut subsidies to encourage gas development for power generation and plans to add 1,000mw of wind power capacity.
Israeli fuel supplies to Gaza’s only power plant are intermittent. Gazans receive power for as little as eight hours a day.
Violent protests over power shortages have prompted the electricity minister to resign. Most Iraqis depend on private generators.
The country’s power grid may be close to failure due to lack of investment and the government is urging electricity conservation. Tehran has suffered summer power cuts.
A giant offshore gasfield is being developed and further discoveries seem likely, potentially making Israel self-sufficient in gas and power.
The emirate is building its first new power plant in more than 20 years, hoping to end summer power cuts. In June, parliament approved reducing the public working day to save electricity.
The government plans to spend $1.5bn on its problem-ridden electricity system. It will buy gas from Qatar for power generation and plans to clamp down on electricity theft and corruption at the state utility. Beirut residents took to the streets in May to protest power cuts and blocked the airport highway with burning tyres.
The government plans to convert oil-fired power stations to gas and add more gas-fired generation as power demand expands. A recent large gas discovery will help.
The country recently inaugurated the region’s largest wind farm under a plan to install 2,000mw each of wind and solar capacity by 2020.
Power cuts are uncommon in Oman and the power authority is progressing with planned generating capacity additions.
The emirate with the most gas inaugurated a 2,000mw power plant in May and will commission a second in coming months. It expects to become a power exporter.
Power cuts recently grounded planes and caused school children to pass out while taking exams. The kingdom is struggling to add enough generating capacity to meet rising power demand and is planning a nuclear programme.
The World Bank estimates the state’s power sector needs $11bn of investment in its inefficient power sector to eliminate a worsening power shortage.
The country is developing new gas discoveries for power generation and plans to link its power grid to Italy’s.
The country has taken rebounding power demand in its stride while privatising its grid. It has signed deals with Russia and South Korea for two nuclear power plants.
Sharjah has suffered crippling power cuts for a second consecutive summer. With gas production slipping further behind demand, power shortages are unlikely to end until 2017 when Abu Dhabi brings its first nuclear reactor into service.
Rapid urbanisation is worsening a catastrophic power shortage. As Sanaa, the capital, draws electricity from 20-year-old diesel-fired facilities, Yemen exports gas.
Inadequate electricity infrastructure has become the county’s major political hot button.
The government is building nuclear plants to end a long-running power crisis and plans significant solar power development.
A four-year electricity crisis drags on. “Transmission congestion” has replaced “drought” as the official reason for power cuts.
A worsening electricity crisis, blamed on lack of government planning and inefficiency, has sparked violent demonstrations.
The country’s decision to withdraw from the Central Asian electricity grid threatens an energy crisis in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan is seeking to restore the common electricity system but could be thwarted by regional ethnic tensions.
Power generation has fallen by two thirds since last year as armed strife continues.
A second north-south transmission line was completed last September, eliminating chronic power shortages in the south.
Asia Pacific and Australasia
Investment of at least A$100bn (Dh319.15bn) is needed to avert power shortages, according to the country’s energy minister. Sydney, the biggest city, has suffered a series of power cuts.
A Malaysian firm is building the first coal-fired power plant in a country severely undersupplied with electricity and is considering a second project.
Electricity consumption is setting records. The government is targeting the annual development of 60,000mw of new generation capacity, consisting mainly of hydro and coal-fired plants.
Development agencies have lent $325m for upgrading power transmission networks.
A severe drought cut hydropower output, causing power cuts on the southern island of Mindanao.
An extended drought reducing hydropower output threatens summer power cuts and the government is urging conservation. Twelve coal-fired power projects should break ground next year.
Inadequate, unreliable, expensive electricity supply is hindering development, according to the Gambian energy minister, who called for public-private-sector partnerships to solve the problem.
The state electrical utility expects to start exporting power to Djibouti and Sudan next year.
The state is rationing electricity exports to several neighbours and importing power from Ghana. Power cuts have sparked public protests.
The government is considering nuclear power to reduce over-reliance on hydro-electricity and vulnerability to droughts.
Officials are preparing a plan to sell off the inadequate state electricity system in what could be one of Africa’s biggest privatisations.
The government signed a $325m contract for a project to generate power from methane trapped at the bottom of Lake Kivu.
The country’s energy minister apologised last week for “more than intolerable” power cuts, after a week of protests. The oil-fired engines running aging power plants were damaged by contaminated fuel, he said.
The World Bank has approved a $3.75bn loan to finance a high-efficiency coal-fired generating plant aimed at ending a three-year electricity crisis. A power cut during the World Cup stranded 2,000 fans when commuter trains stopped running.
A 1,250mw hydropower project on the upper Nile, built with Chinese and Arab funding, has doubled the country’s power-generation capacity. China has also financed a 405mw thermal power project in central Sudan and provided a loan for building a transmission network. Sudan and Ethiopia linked their power grids in July.
Equipment failure at hydroelectricity stations and the Zanzibar facility receiving power from the mainland caused power cuts and electricity rationing. The country lacks spare parts and qualified repairmen.
The government plans more hydropower projects, but most inhabitants still burn traditional biomass for energy.
Power cuts are jeopardising economic recovery, according to the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who criticised the state utility for poor service and overpaying senior management.
European energy security jitters, revived by a recent Russia-Belarus gas spat, are stoking the region’s renewable energy agenda during difficult economic times.
Energy workers went on strike last month to protest against government plans to raise the retirement age and reform state pensions.
Germany, Italy, Spain
Governments announced plans to cut solar power subsidies, prompting industry protests.
Power consumption has rebounded to pre-recession levels, increasing the need for upgrades to the dilapidated national grid. The US and Russia have agreed to co-operate on energy efficiency and clean energy.
The country remains well supplied with power due to new liquefied natural gas imports from Qatar. It has launched an ambitious programme to build offshore wind farms.
A recent power cut affecting New York, Cleveland, Detroit and parts of Canada has drawn attention to the vulnerability of the continent’s ageing power grid. Massive investment is needed for upgrades.
The introduction of regulatory entities and market competition, as well as renewable energy development, promise to transform the region’s power sector.
A devastating earthquake ravaged the electricity grid, which still requires extensive repairs.
Nicaragua is building wind farms to reduce power shortages.
The country with Latin America’s biggest electricity market is already highly dependent on hydropower but plans another massive project in the Amazon region. Environmentalists and aboriginals oppose the development.
Power was restored within weeks of a powerful earthquake. Discussions about security upgrades followed.
A drought that cut hydropower output forced draconian conservation measures. The government has announced $3bn of investment in thermal generation by 2015.