DUBAI — The Middle East Electricity, the region’s largest trade show for the power and energy sector, is set to open on Tuesday where key regional and international players in the power industry are descending as utility providers across the region are preparing for what some industry commentators have called an unprecedented period of demand for energy.
Now in its 36th year, the event focuses on power generation, transmission and distribution; commercial, industrial and residential lighting; water; new and renewable energy; and nuclear energy.
The show comes at a time when the UAE is expecting primary energy demand to increase by 71 per cent by 2019, Kuwait plans to double power capacity to 20,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020 and Saudi Arabia’s power consumption is set to rise 57 per cent to 65,000 MW by 2018.
“Translated into investment dollars, the planned regional spend totals $2.3 trillion, broken down as follows; UAE: $926 billion; Saudi Arabia: $614 billion; Kuwait: $271 billion; Qatar: $230 billion; Oman: $104 billion and Bahrain: $66 billion,” said Anita Mathews, Exhibition Director, Middle East Electricity 2011.
To stay ahead of the curve, a new strategic approach now puts sustainability, efficiency and diversity at the centre of GCC energy policy, with Private Public Partnerships (PPP) also playing an integral support role.
“Governments realise they must strike a balance between the social, environmental and economic needs as well as private sector commitment,” added Mathews. Two energy alternatives that have been embraced in the UAE are solar and nuclear power. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) awarded a $20 billion contract to a South Korean consortium to build two Braka reactors which ENEC hopes to have up and running by 2020.
Abu Dhabi aims to produce 1,500 mega watts or 7 per cent of its total energy needs through renewable sources by 2020. In a joint venture with Total and Abengoa Solar, Masdar will develop, build, operate and maintain Shams 1 which will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, extending over an area of 2.5 square kilometres. Construction is expected to take approximately two years.
In addition, by installing solar panels on warehouse roofs throughout the capital, Abu Dhabi hopes to generate a further 500 MW of energy annually. Indeed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai uses solar panels to heat 140,000 litres of water every day. — firstname.lastname@example.org