GCC power grid in 3 phases

Habib Shaikh
Filed on January 27, 2008

JEDDAH -The GCC power grid, linking Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, would be carried out in three phases, according to Saleh Alawaji, Saudi deputy minister for electricity affairs, who is also chairman of the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA).

He said that the project will reduce the cost of power generation in member countries.

The GCC countries gave the go-ahead for the power grid project in late 2004 after the project was declared technically feasible.

Speaking of the economic viability of the project, Alawaji said the benefit to cost ratio for Phase-1 is 1:5 and that the payback period for the investment is less than four years.

Upon completion of Phase I and the reduction of generation capacity, the total cost savings rate of return after four years of operations would be $2.5 billion. The total cost saving rate of return after three years of operations is projected at $3.35 billion.

The four GCC countries will be linked in a power grid this year in the first phase of the major project aimed at connecting the six-member GCC states in an electricity network.

Minister of Water and Electricity Abdullah Al Hussayen said the project aimed at ensuring an adequate supply of electricity in the GCC countries would be completed by the end of 2009. He said the project's cost could be recovered by 2011.

The GCC Interconnection Authority, which supervises the project, signed 13 contracts with six companies in October 2005 at a cost of $1.079 billion for the implementation of Phase 1.

Phase 1 includes a double-circuit 400 kV, 50Hz line from Al-Zour in Kuwait to Ghunan in Saudi Arabia with an intermediate connection at Fadhili in the Kingdom and associated substations and a back-to-back HVDC interconnection to the 380 kV, 60Hz system at Fadhili.

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