Oman: Powering up

Oman is scaling up investments in its electricity sector in a bid to boost production to meet spiraling demand. Plans are in hand to construct new power stations across the country and diversify sources of supply, though it will take some years before the Sultanate will have a comfortable cushion of excess generation capacity. According to data from the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), the demand for electricity is increasing at around 10% a year. While currently the greatest single call on the grid comes from private clients, who account for 52% of all consumption, this is expected to shift somewhat in the coming years as the growth and diversification of economy translates into a greater need for electricity, with the requirements of the industrial and commercial sectors in particular expected to jump. Authorities are working to bring new capacity on-line, with a tender having been called for the construction of a 1500-MW plant in the wilayat (province) of Sur, due to begin operation in 2014; and two smaller facilities, one in Sohar and the other in Barka, with a combined output of 750 MW, set to start production in 2012. Under Oman’s eighth five-year investment plan, which covers the period 2011 to 2015, more than $2.6 billion has been allocated for investment in electricity, with projects being undertaken by the private sector accounting for a further $3.9 billion. Source: Oxford Business Group

France funds solar project in Morocco with €100.3m

The French Agency for Development (AFD) decided to give Morocco an appropriation of €100.3 million in order to ""support the implementation of its solar energy plan and the construction of a solar power plant in Ouarzazate."" The sum is composed of a loan of €100 million and a donation of €300,000. The AFD underlined the importance of the plan, launched in 2009 with the aim of raising the capacity of power production from solar energy to a minimum of 2000 MW by 2020. In this regard, it said that while Morocco imports 97% of its energy needs, ""which puts a strain on its balance of trade and its budget,"" it ""has, however, one of the most abundant solar resource in the world."" Source: Maghreb Arabe Presse

€610m from European Investment Bank for electricity projects in Egypt

The European Investment Bank (EIB) delegation announced its continuous support for Egyptian electricity projects planned in the bilateral cooperation program with investments worth €610 million. Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy, Dr. Hassan Younis conferred with a mission of the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the bank's activities in the electricity sector during the coming stage. He said that the bank is financing solar and wind operated power projects in Egypt at total investment costs of €610 million. The mission said it would continue supporting the electricity sector projects stipulated in a bilateral cooperation program. The mission also voiced its wish to help Egypt in this critical stage. The EIB is one of the most important bodies that fund energy projects in Egypt, said Younis during his meeting with the mission. Furthermore, the Egyptian electricity sector established four power generation plants for lighting four cities in South Sudan. Three power plants have been operated. Younis will discuss the possibility of achieving integration between the electricity sectors in the two countries, establishing joint companies and benefiting from the huge potentials for producing clean electricity from water sources in South Sudan. Source: Global Arab Network

Kuwait: Building back up

According to several recently published reports, the outlook for Kuwait's real estate sector is looking up. After hitting a low in 2009, the real estate market has begun to show signs of recovery and following a moderate expansion in 2010; it appears poised for more robust growth this year. On April 22, Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the country’s largest sharia-compliant financial institution, issued a report detailing the first-quarter performance of the domestic real estate sector. The report estimated that the total value of real estate transactions – including the residential, investment and commercial segments – grew by 5.3% over the previous quarter. This continues a trend that was set in 2010. According to an April 2011 report, published by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), real estate sales “have been trending higher since the middle of 2009 when the Kuwait and the world economies started recovering from the financial crisis”. Indeed, NBK found that average monthly real estate sales grew from KD108.7 million ($381.65m) in 2009 to KD166.1 million ($583.2m) in 2010, an increase of nearly 53%. In annual terms, this amounted to a total market of nearly KD2 billion ($7bn) in 2010. The residential segment, which accounted for about 55% of this total, exhibited the greatest growth, with sales expanding by 65% between 2009 and 2010. The government’s distribution of plots and units during the middle of 2010 may have been one of the factors that contributed to this rise. By comparison, the commercial segment increased by only 23% between the two years, reaching KD240 million ($842.6m) in 2010. Recent reports project an upward trend for the remainder of 2011. According to KFH, liquidity in the real estate market has increased in recent months, in part thanks to a February 2011 grant of KD1000 ($3500) to every Kuwaiti citizen and a decline in the number of investment opportunities in other Arab countries. Source: Oxford Business Group

Saudi power demand rising 7-8% annually

Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) has said power demand in the kingdom is increasing 7%-8% annually amid a growing population that exceeds 27 million, Saudi Gazette has reported. Seventy percent of energy consumption goes to air-conditioning, largely due to consumers using inefficient devices, SEC said. The company plans to spend $80 billion over the next decade to keep pace with population growth, which will result in an increase in demand for electricity by more than 30,000 megawatts by the year 2020. Source: Saudi Gazette

DEWA launches new substation at Jumeirah Park

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) launched a new 132/11 KV (150 Megavolt Ampere Substation) at Jumeirah Park North, located in the South of Shaikh Zayed Road close to Jumeirah Islands compound, during the second quarter of this year. The cost of the new substation is around Dh120 million so as to secure the ever-growing demand for electricity for different purposes. Saeed Mohamed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, said: ‘DEWA’s efforts come within the framework of enhancing the efficiency of the grids to meet the growth of demand for DEWA’s services and going on with implementing its vital projects especially in the field of infrastructure. In this respect, DEWA spares no effort to support high voltage 132/11 KV power transmission grid’. ‘With a cost up to Dh120 million, the project aims to enhance the capacity of DEWA’s grids of power transmission to Jumeirah Park. DEWA has extended underground cables with capacity of 132 KV at the length of 6 kilometer to connect it to the 400/132 KV. This will definitely optimize its efficiency and reliability and ensure an uninterrupted and stable power supply to all various segments of consumers at all times,’ he added. The substation applies state-of-the-art digital technologies of transformation substations, contributing to promoting their efficiency and reliability. Another 43 substations with capacity of 132 KV are underway in the emirate. Source: Emirates News Agency

ABB wins $144m power orders in Saudi

ABB has won orders worth $144 million, from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), Saudi Arabia’s national power operator, to construct new substations and upgrade existing ones. In addition to upgrading substations in Riyadh and Hail, ABB will be responsible for the engineering, design, supply, installation and commissioning of a new 380/230-kilovolt (kV) substation in Wasit to facilitate power supplies in the Eastern region. It will also build the Roikbah 132 kV substation (east Najran) to help ensure that the Medical City in Jizan receives uninterrupted power supplies and a second 132kV substation in Buriadah, the capital city of the Al-Qassim province in central Saudi Arabia will help SEC better serve the city. ABB will also undertake the expansion of the Jizan Central and South Khamis Imshate substations. Source: TradeArabia News Service