Power grid to link four GCC states


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 (GCCIA), 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.

Saleh Alawaji, chairman of GCCIA and Saudi deputy minister for electricity affairs, said the project which is to reduce the cost of power generation in member countries would be carried out in three phases.

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. A double circuit 400 kV comprises overhead lines and a submarine link from Ghunan to Al-Jasra in Bahrain and associated substations.

Saudi Arabia has offered to meet 40 percent of the cost of the first phase while Kuwait will provide 36.5 percent, Qatar 13.5 percent and Bahrain 10 percent.

The second phase of the project will link the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The resulting two mega-grids will be joined in the final phase.

Phase 3 includes: A double circuit 400 kV line from Salwa to Shuwaihat in the UAE and associated substations; a double circuit 220 kV from Al-Ouhah in the UAE to Al-Waseet in Oman and associated substations; a single circuit 220 kV line from Al-Ouhah to Al-Waseet and associated substations.

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


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