$1.5bn GCC power grid on track for early 2009
Mar 18, 2008
- Gulf-times.com - Doha Time
ABU DHABI: The Gulf Co-operation
Council Interconnection Authority, or GCCIA, yesterday
said four Arab Gulf states will be connected for
the first time through a $1.5bn common electricity
grid from early 2009, saving countries as much as
$3bn in electricity investments over 20 years.
The GCC Interconnection grid, which
will link the power networks of the six GCC states,
is 60% complete and will be operational in the first
quarter of 2009, Ahmed Ali Ebrahim, GCCIA director
for system operation and maintenance said here.
“By the year end we will start commissioning
of the interconnection. We will start operation
by early 2009,” Ebrahim said on the sidelines of
the Middle East Power and Water 2008 conference.
The first phase of the project will see the interconnection
of four GCC states – Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and
Saudi Arabia – with Oman and the UAE to follow in
2010 under phases two and three.
The project is aimed at helping Gulf
states meet soaring power requirements amid an economic
boom that has seen billions of petrodollars flow
into industrial, tourism and real estate projects,
in turn driving up electricity needs.
“The basic reason for building the
grid is that it will save $3bn in investments in
installed generation capacity in the next 20 years,”
Ebrahim said at the conference, organised by the
London-based Middle East Economic Digest.
The system will also allow the transfer
of electricity between countries at times of different
peak demand needs. “Countries will need to keep
less reserves,” Ebrahim said.
In the longer term, the grid could
serve as a launch pad for energy trading between
GCC states, he added. The grid, which was first
considered in 1982, should also help lower electricity
prices and may subsequently reduce government subsidies
as a result of better efficiency in the regional
“The price of the electricity unit
overall should go down because of the possibility
of energy trading and savings from efficient investments,”
The grid’s fibre optic cables may
also have another use, such as telecommunications,
said Hassan al-Assad, the GCCIA’s head of corporate
The authority may lease the capacity
to one or more telco providers to generate additional
returns for the GCCIA, al-Assad said. - Zawya Dow