Kuwait has taken a bold step towards realising its target to have 15% electricity generation from renewable energy projects by 2030.
Kuwait recently signed a contract with Spain’s TSK Group to set up a 50 MW solar photovoltaic 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.
The government also signed similar contracts for two 10 MW solar PV power projects earlier this year. At least one of these projects will be developed by Kuwait Oil Company which, in turn, has awarded the contract for construction of the project to another Spanish company, Gestamp Solar. All three projects will be funded by the Kuwaiti government, however, in the future, projects shall be allocated to private sector companies under build-operate-transfer mechanism.
The country’s Electricity and Water Minister Ahmad al-Jassar stated that 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. The renewable energy target was announced in 2012 when Kuwait also set a target to generate 1% of the total electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of this year.