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GCC electricity inter-exchange grid project to be operational in five years

posted on 12/08/2006: 784 views

Riyadh - The electricity grid which will connect the six GCC states is expected to be completed by 2010, according to a report by the GCC Interconnection Authority. Tendering for the first section of the project has been completed. The total value of the 14 contracts would reach US$1.1 billion, according to the Director-General of the Authority, Saleh Bin Hussain Al Awaji, which he said was "less than we earlier estimated".

The first section of the interconnectivity project will link Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and is expected to be completed by 2008. Al Awaji said that the second section connecting the UAE and Oman will be completed in 2008, with both sections being interconnected in 2010, thus completing the entire project. Excess electricity is to be exported.

From 2006 to 2008, a total of US$994.7 million will be on the project. Qatar's share of the funds is US$146.84 million. The report states that the aim of the Authority is to promote the necessary investment in order to facilitate electricity exchange and to help the states who are lagging in power supply. Moreover, the entire grid has to be "economical."

Among the benefits of having a GCC-wide network, the report said, is that it allows for production-sharing, the countries will have an identical form of electricity and also means there will not be a need to set up separate power plants, each of 5,000 megawatts' capacity, which will save billions of dollars. An added benefit is that the grid would mean self-sufficiency in power on the part of member states all the way up to 2058.

The grid will also enable energy exchange programmes between the GCC states and will play a major role in increasing productivity, diversifying economies and upgrading systems. The GCC states with a common power grid would also be able to better tackle emergencies, the report said. Surveys have been carried out and completed to determine the route of the cables while the financial aspects of the project have been covered as well. (Gulf News)


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