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Abu Dhabi electricity demand rising 11% per year

The power demand of Abu Dhabi is increasing by up to 11% year on year

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Abu Dhabi's demand is increasing.
Abu Dhabi's demand is increasing.

Demand for electricity in Abu Dhabi, the biggest member of the UAE, is increasing at up to 11 percent year on year, according to an exeutive at the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority.

"Demand is growing around 10 to 11 percent now compared to last year," Abdulla Saif al Nuaimi, head of the privatisation directorate at ADWEA said on Tuesday at a MEED conference.

Water and electricity demand in Abu Dhabi is growing quickly as the world's third-largest oil exporter builds infrastructure and industry to diversify away from dependence on petrodollars.

Demand for electricity in Abu Dhabi for 2009 was 6,255 megawatts according to a report by ADWEA.

Abu Dhabi's current capacity for power generation was 13,000 megawatts (MW) Nuami told reporters later.

"We have no shortages here in Abu Dhabi," he said.

Abu Dhabi is expected to complete work and bring online the Shuweihat 3 independent power project (IPP) by 2013 Nuaimi said.

The plant is the ninth power project under a privatisation plan launched in 1998, under which international developers take a stake in the project.

Nuami said that investments for the privatisation of power plants in the emirate was around $65 billion.

Under the IPP model, foreign investors operate the plant.

The UAE has embarked upon a nuclear programme to try to meet spiralling electricity demand.

In December, it awarded a deal worth up to $40 billion, one of the largest ever awarded in the Middle East, to a South Korean consortium to build and operate four nuclear reactors in the Gulf Arab country.

Abu Dhabi holds most of the United Arab Emirates' crude reserves and oil revenues have helped it avoid the worst of the global economic slowdown, as well as the debt crisis that has hit neighbouring emirate Dubai.

Shuweihat 3 will be Abu Dhabi's first IPP. The previous eight projects are all independent water and power projects (IWPPs).

ADWEA decided not to include water desalination at Shuweihat 3 to save on investment in water pipelines and for technological reasons, Nuami said in an interview with Reuters in February. (Reuters)

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