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Independents satisfy Bahraini needs

After the success of two IPPs, Bahrain has embarked on a third

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Al Dur is Bahrain's third independent power project (IPP).
Al Dur is Bahrain's third independent power project (IPP).

Bahrain’s total power generation capacity is currently 2762 MW, according to the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), with demand hovering anywhere between 1750 and 2250 MW per day.

The country’s power needs are satisfied by the EWA and two independent power companies (IPPs), Al Hidd Power Company and Al Ezzel Power Company, which boast capacity of 810 MW, 1006 MW and 946 MW respectively.

Al Ezzel, the country’s first IPP, began commercial operation in April 2006 following the completion of phase I of the project, which added almost 470MW of capacity to Bahrain’s national grid. An additional 480MW has since been added through a phase II expansion, bringing the total generating capacity of the Al Ezzel plant to around 950MW.

Al Ezzel Power Co is owned by Suez Energy International, Gulf Investment Corp and the Pension Fund of Bahrain. The company has a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Electricity and Water Authority.

The second IPP, Al Hidd, was originally built by the government in the 1990s and became an independent power company in 2005 when it was bought by a consortium including Suez-Tractebel and Sumitomo.

The plant’s capacity when it was sold was just over 1000 MW and 30 million MIG per day. Sidem, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technology, has since executed projects to considerably boost desalination capacity at the plant.

Like Al Ezzel Power Company, Al Hidd Power Company provides electricity and potable water to the Electricity and Water Authority under a 20-year power and water purchase agreement (PWPA).

Following the success of Al Ezzel and the sale of Al Hidd, the country announced plans to proceed with another major independent power and water project: Al Dur 1. In August 2008, GDF SUEZ Energy International was awarded the contract to build, own, and operate the planned power generation and seawater desalination plant.

The project plan envisions Al Dur 1 producing 1234 MW of electricity and 218,000 m³ of water per day. Completion, scheduled for 2011, would add enormous capacity to the country’s grid and further development stages are planned.

As with Al Ezzel, power and water produced by the plant will be sold to the Electricity and Water Authority through a 20-year power and water purchase agreement.

Like every other GCC state, Bahrain relies on desalination for water. Total production of desalinated water is 134.99 MIG (million imperial gallons) per day, whereas ground water availability is just 6.79 MIG.

The country’s total water storage capacity is 211.50 MIG, according to the EWA, and daily demand is around 130 MIG. The bulk of the country’s desalinated water is provided by the Al Hidd plant, which produces almost 91 MIG per day. Sitra and Ras Abu Jarjur are the country’s other main desalination plants.

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