MEED conference told Kuwait is acting to slash energy and water consumption

Kuwait plans to introduce new measures to slash unsustainable increases in electricity and power demand and reduce subsidies to electricity consumers, the Kuwait Energy & Water Efficiency Conference was told this morning.

Assistant undersecretary for planning and training at the Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) Meshan al-Otaibi told the conference that Kuwait is also planning to restructure the electricity and water sector and change the law to allow the ministry to procure a power plant with capacity greater than 500MW.

Al-Otaibi said present trends in Kuwaiti electricity and water demand were unsustainable.

“We expect 13,000MW of production this summer,” Al-Otaibi said. “In 2030, it will reach more than 30,000MW. This year, the cost of producing water and electricity will be more than KD3bn. It will reach more than KD8bn in 2030. We are using more than 350,000 b/d of crude oil to produce electricity and water now. This will rise to 800,000 b/d by 2030.”

“These figures are unsustainable,” Al-Otaibi said. “We must do something.”

Al-Otaibi said radical policy measures are being developed including the creation of a new electricity and water authority.

“The ministry has started restructuring the system,” Al-Otaibi said. “It shouldn’t be run by the government and it should go, as the ultimate objective, to the private sector.

He said that the preparation of plans for the creation of an electricity and water authority are at an advanced stage.

“The draft of the law is ready and we expect it to be approved in the next two years,” Al-Otaibi said. He said that the proposed authority would have the power to form joint ventures with the private sector. The draft sector law also calls for the creation of an independent regulatory body, Al-Otaibi said.

Otaibi said that other initiatives include improving the efficiency of the national grid and working closely with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) about gas supplies.

Al-Otaibi said that the ministry is taking action to contain demand.

“We revised the building code this year to make it tougher on energy waste,” Al-Otaibi said. “We expect to have 20 per cent saving from this, particularly from airconditioning specifications. All windows must be double-glazed. Insulation must be at least 250cm thick.”

“We have given engineering offices the responsibility for designing and supervising the delivery of buildings,” Al-Otaibi said. “In the past, there was no certain implementation of high standards. The engineering offices are now responsible for this.”

District cooling will play an important role in energy saving in the future.

“In the new cities being developed by the Public Authority for Housing Welfare, there will be more than 250,000 homes and they will all have district cooling,” Al-Otaibi said.

Al-Otaibi said the MEW is working on pilot renewable projects.

Al-Otaibi said that the MEW is planning to change the consumer tariff to contain demand growth.

“It is not a secret,” Al-Otaibi said. “We are serious in changing the tariff. We are waiting for final approval of the new tariff. There is social resistance; It’s not easy to change the tariff.”

“The cost of producing 1 kilowatt hour of power is 42 fils,” Al-Otaibi said. “We subsidise it and sell that 1 kilowatt hour for 2 fils only. The consumer pays only five per cent of the cost.”

Al-Otaibi said the plan calls for charges for low levels of consumption to be kept at 2 fils. This will rise to 12 fils for the higher consumers.

Al Otaibi said the MEW has plans to introduce smart meters.

“Everyone in Kuwait, even the consumers themselves, prefer smart meters and to pay in advance,” he said. “We are tendering a pilot metering project with a closing date on 8 June.”

Al-Otaibi set out details of 8,000MW of new capacity to be completed by 2020. The projects are:

  • The Al-Zour North independent water and power project (IWPP). This will have capacity to produce 1,500MW of power and 107m gallons a day (g/d) of water. Al-Otaibi said he expected the power plant, which is being developed under the Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) privatisation programme, to be completed by end of 2016
  • The Al-Zour North phase II is being developed by the PTB.  Its capacity will be 1,500MW of power and 107m g/d of water. The target for the start of production is 2018
  • The Al-Zour North phases III and IV, also being developed by the PTB, will produce a total of 1,800MW and 100mgd. Al-Otaibi said that no date had been fixed for the start of production
  • The 280MW Abdaliya integrated solar combined cycle project, also being developed by the PTB
  • The Khairan IWPP. The 1,500MW first phase is under development by the PTB.
  • The proposed 2,500MW Newaisab. This could be developed on an EPC basis by the Ministry of Electricity & Water.

Al-Otaibi said that a change in Law 39 of 2010 is needed to remove the ban on the MEW developing power projects with a capacity greater than 500MW. The MEW is starting work on preliminary designs for the Newaisab plant and may use an external consultant. Plans call for the project to be operating by 2020.

The Kuwait Energy & Water Efficiency Conference is being held in the Jumeirah Messilah Beach hotel in Kuwait City. The conference is supported by the Ministry of Electricity & Water and endorsed by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS).

Drake & Scull and Kimmco are conference sponsors. Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) and Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company are networking sponsors.