UAE’s electricity systems to be interconnected

The different electricity systems within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be interconnected by the end of March as rising population and new industrial units increase power consumption throughout the country, a senior official said.

The UAE-wide power grid will provide more stable electricity supplies and allow energy exchange among emirates, said Waleed Ali Salman, director of electricity at the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA). FEWA’s utility operations cover Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and the Dhaid area of Sharjah. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have their separate utility authorities.

The Dh820m ($223m) programme to establish the national power grid was to have been completed in 2005 but only Abu Dhabi and Dubai were able to connect their systems in that year, Salman said. “We expect completion of the grid by the end of March,” added Salaman.

Mitsubishi awarded $1.9bn Saudi IWPP project

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited has won a full turnkey order worth $1.9 billion to build an oil fired thermal power generation and desalination plant in Saudi Arabia.

Mitsubishi will set up a consortium of Japanese and Middle Eastern companies to handle plant engineering, manufacturing, construction and trial operation. Mitsubishi Electric Corp-oration will supply the generators.

The new plant is to be constructed on the Red Sea coast at Shuqaiq and begin operations in 2010. The 1020 MW power facility will have three steam turbines, oil fired boilers and generators. The desalination unit will have output capacity of 216 000 m3 of drinking water a day.

Under the contract, electricity and water will be supplied to the Water and Electricity Company for 20 years.

Siemens substation for Abu Dhabi

Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution is to construct a 400 kV turnkey substation for the power supply on Saadiyat Island off Abu Dhabi.

The substation forms part of a three-phase development of the island, some 500 m off shore, to transform it into a tourism centre.

The €120m ($158m) order was placed by the state power company the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Co (TRANSCO). In addition to construction of the 400 kV/132 kV/22 kV substation, the contract also comprises engineering and commissioning of the gas insulated, high voltage switchgear.

The substation is scheduled to go into operation at the end of next year.

The infrastructure of the island is due to be fully developed by 2018, with a total investment of approximately $27bn.

GE wins Saudi Arabia deals worth a combined $1bn

GE Energy has won a series of new contracts for projects in Saudi Arabia worth more than $1bn in total.

Among the contracts is a deal for the Marafiq generation and desalination project, located in Jubail Industrial City. GE will supply four combined-cycle power blocks including 12 Frame 7FA gas turbines. Net plant output is targeted at more than 2740 MW, with steam extraction for desalination.

A second contract for the Riyadh Power Plant 9 project has also been signed with Saudi Electricity Company. GE plans to provide 12 Frame 7EA gas turbines, along with technical advisory services.

Suez to bid for Fujairah-2 plant

Suez Energy International, the first private power developer in the Middle East, is considering bidding for the Fujairah-2 power plant, a Suez top official said.

Guy Richelle, president and CEO of Suez Energy Middle East-Asia and Africa, told Gulf News that Suez is eyeing seven new power, water and electricity projects to be launched in 2007 in the region.

“We are preparing our studies, financing plans, and technical bids to participate in seven projects to be offered to the international developers in the Middle East and the GCC countries this year,” said Richelle, adding that more than $15bn is to be invested in regional private sector power and water projects this year. “We are planning to be part of this huge power development,” he said.

Gulf states to move ahead with nuclear energy plans

The six Gulf Arab states are to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to draw up a feasibility study to explore development of their first nuclear energy plants.

“We agreed that a team of agency experts and experts in the fields of nuclear power and electrical planning will draw up the general framework and the terms of reference of such a study”, said Abdullah Hamad Al Attiyah, Gulf Coperation Council (GCC) secretary general and Qatari deputy prime minister.

The GCC announced its intention to study a nuclear programme in December 2006, but has revealed few details about its plans.

No Arab country currently has a nuclear energy capability, but several engage in nuclear research. Egypt decided in 2006 to restart its long-stalled nuclear energy programme.

Al-Attiyah, who is also Qatar’s energy minister, said the huge energy needs of the fast-growing Gulf countries warranted development of nuclear energy. In particular, Gulf countries expend vast amounts of oil and gas in desalination, turning seawater into drinking water.

Extension and refinancing of Taweelah A1 plant gets go-ahead

Gulf Total Tractebel Power Company (GTTPC), a 20 per cent subsidiary of Suez, has announced the extension of the Taweelah A1 power and desalination plant, together with the refinancing of its existing debt.

The Taweelah A1 Plant has an existing production capacity of 1360 MW for power and prodices 380 000 m3 per day for water. As from May 2009, the extension will increase the total power capacity up to 1592 MW.

The extension shall be achieved by way of a turnkey construction contract with Doosan Heavy Industries.

Israel ponders nuclear power station construction

Israel is considering building a nuclear power station, an official of the country’s atomic energy commission has confirmed.

Uri Bin-Nun, head of the Israeli Atomic Energy commission told him that the idea was under consideration – the first time the commission has said that. Nili Lishitz, spokeswoman for the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, said the idea of building a nuclear power station is not new. “In light of Israel’s energy needs it is only natural that we showed interest, right now it is just in the planning stage.”

A spokesman for the Israel Electricity Corporation refused to comment on the matter.