Middle East Electricity Preview

Sustainability in focus as GCC utilities face unprecedented demand

The Middle East is expecting an unprecedented demand for electricity and power in the next 10 years.
The Middle East is expecting an unprecedented demand for electricity and power in the next 10 years.

Key regional and international players in the power industry are expected to descend on Dubai on Tuesday as utility providers across the region are preparing for what some industry commentators have called an unprecedented period of demand for energy.

Now in its 36th year Middle East Electricity, the region’s largest trade show for the power and energy sector, which opens at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, focuses on power generation, transmission and distribution; commercial, industrial and residential lighting; water; new and renewable energy; and nuclear energy.

The show comes at a time when the UAE is expecting primary energy demand to increase by 71% by 2019, Kuwait plans to double power capacity to 20,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020 and Saudi Arabia’s power consumption is set to rise 57% to 65,000 MW by 2018.

“Translated into investment dollars, the planned regional spend totals US$2.3 trillion, broken down as follows; UAE: US$926 billion; Saudi Arabia: US$614 billion; Kuwait: US$271 billion; Qatar: US$230 billion; Oman: US$104 billion and Bahrain: US$66 billion,” said Anita Mathews, Exhibition Director, Middle East Electricity 2011.

To stay ahead of the curve, a new strategic approach now puts sustainability, efficiency and diversity at the centre of GCC energy policy, with Private Public Partnerships (PPP) also playing an integral support role.

“Governments realise they must strike a balance between the social, environmental and economic needs as well as private sector commitment,” added Mathews.

Two energy alternatives that have been embraced in the UAE are solar and nuclear power. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) awarded a $20 billion contract to a South Korean consortium to build two Braka reactors which ENEC hopes to have up and running by 2020.

Abu Dhabi aims to produce 1,500 mega watts or 7% of its total energy needs through renewable sources by 2020. In a joint venture with Total and Abengoa Solar, Masdar will develop, build, operate and maintain Shams 1 which will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, extending over an area of 2.5 square kilometres. Construction is expected to take approximately two years.

In addition, by installing solar panels on warehouse roofs throughout the capital, Abu Dhabi hopes to generate a further 500 MW of energy annually. Indeed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai uses solar panels to heat 140,000 litres of water every day. The solar powered water brings energy savings equivalent to 3,200 kilo watts per day and 690 mega watts of energy per annum

An even more ambitious project is being considered in Ras Al Khaimah, with a series of floating, rotating solar islands off the coast using cutting edge Swiss technology. These islands, up to 5km in diameter could produce several giga watts of thermal power. Prototypes are being tested over a two year trial.

“Power generation also plays a significant role in water supply. Governments across the region face severe water shortages as demand begins to outstrip supply. However most potable water is derived from desalination plants which of course need power,” added Mathews.

IIR Middle East the Middle East Electricity show organiser is expecting around 50,000 trade visitors and has already confirmed that all available exhibition space has been sold. In total over 1,000 exhibitors from 58 countries covering 45,000 square metres of exhibition space are participating this year.

Other features of this year’s event include the inaugural Leaders’ Forum where international and regional industry experts will examine solutions to the region’s demand and supply challenges, through smart grids and sustainable business practices.

Lighting at Middle East Electricity continues to be the region’s largest and longest-running lighting event. Year after year, the exhibition attracts the largest number of high quality visitors sourcing lighting products. Over 250 exhibitors at Middle East Electricity last year showcased lighting related products and services


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