Kuwait has successfully commissioned its first solar power project possibly ushering in a new phase of growth in the country’s renewable energy sector.
The state-owned Kuwait Oil Company announced that it operationalised 10 MW solar power project at the Umm Gudair oil field. Half of the power generated from the project will be fed into the grid, while other half, presumably, will be used for meet demand at the oil field.
Kuwait Oil Company spent around $99 million on the construction of the project. The company hopes to generate at least 20% electricity from alternative sources by 2020. Kuwait, as a whole, has set a target to generate 15% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2030.
The country has already taken some measures to that end.
Last year, a contract was signed with Spain’s TSK Group to set up a 50 MW solar thermal power project. The contract is worth $365 million and will see the project start commercial operation in 2017. The project will be set up at Shagaya, 100 kilometres from Kuwait City, and near the country’s border with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. When commissioned, the project will generate enough electricity to fulfil needs of 100,000 homes, and save energy equivalent to 12.5 million barrels of oil every year.
According to the Electricity and Water Ministry, Kuwait plans to generate 4.5 GW from wind and solar power projects by 2030, when the total power demand is expected to increase from its current level of 12 GW to 30 GW. By 2025, the government expects to have an operational renewable energy capacity of at least 2 GW.