Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, facing power generation bills that will top $150 billion over the next 20 years in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area alone, are increasingly investing in new and renewable energy sources to supplement fossil fuel power stations.
According to the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA), alternative power use in the region is expected to double to 2.4 quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTU) by 2020, as countries strive to meet escalating demand for electricity, fuelled by booming populations, industrial development and stricter environmental regulations.
Among MENA countries planning to supplement electricity supplies with solar, wind or hydroelectric projects are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco.
"Renewable energy has long been a poor cousin of traditional power sources but an increasing population and industrial base is forcing regional suppliers to look to alternatives," said Sarah Woodbridge, exhibitions director, Power and Energy Division, IIR Exhibitions,
organizers of Middle East Electricity 2004.
"Examples are the proposal to set up wind farms in Fujairah, the first in the GCC, and the decision by the UAE Ministry of Electricity and Water to establish a department to investigate solar power and its uses.
"Although the GCC region, in particular, has good reserves of oil, no one can say with certainty how long they will last. The New and Renewable Energy forum will showcase the latest technologies as well as providing a knowledge resource for everyone involved in the planning and delivery of future energy needs."
Turkey and Iran are pioneers in renewable energy use in the Middle East. Hydroelectricity accounts for nearly 45 percent of Turkey's total installed power capacity—10,000 megawatts out of 23,000 megawatts and for over six percent of Iran's—2,000 megawatts out of 30,000 megawatts. Egypt also generates electricity from hydropower.
Turkey has the most ambitious renewable energy expansion plans in the Middle East, including the 1,200 megawatt Ilisu scheme, part of the $32 billion Southeastern Anatolian Water Project, known as GAP. When completed it will have 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric plants.
Wind power will also be used to help meet the country's energy needs with phase one of a 350-megawatt scheme consisting of a 30-megawatt wind farm west of Istanbul and two other projects, near Ismir, with a combined capacity of 90 megawatts.
Meanwhile, Iran's share of hydroelectricity is set to rise to 15 percent of installed capacity by March 2004 and to 20 percent by the end of 2009. The country's first solar power plant in Shiraz is also due to be completed in September of this year. The $4.3 million plant will generate 250kw of electricity.
In North Africa, Morocco is investing $3.7 billion in energy projects, a significant portion of which will go to wind projects, including the construction of two wind farms in Tangiers and Tarfaya, at a cost of $200 million. And Egypt is constructing a 30-megawatt solar power plant at Kureimat and a 60-megawatt wind project in the Suez Canal area.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Jordan is developing a solar hybrid plant. The estimated US $200 million project will use a solar energy system aided by fuel oil to generate electricity. The plant is expected to generate between 100 and 150MW. The kingdom also has plans for three wind power stations, each with a 25-30 MW capacity, to be constructed on a build, own and operate basis.
In Africa, both South Africa and Uganda have substantial hydroelectric projects underway, including the $520 million, 250-megawatt Bujagali dam complex, on the Nile, due to be operational in 2005.
The increased regional interest in alternative power sources will be reflected in an expanded vertical New and Renewable Energy forum at Middle East Electricity 2004, the region's power and electricity industry trade show, to be held at the Dubai International Exhibition Center (DIEC), from February 15-18, 2004.
The New and Renewable Energy forum will be one of three vertical arenas at Middle East Electricity 2004. The other two will focus on power generation and the lighting industry. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )