Interview: Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari
With investments of $22bn in the country’s water and electricity infrastructure, what steps are being taken to expand upon the existing electrical grid?
ESSA BIN HILAL AL KUWARI: KAHRAMAA has completed 10 phases of the network expansion project, and we have started on the 11th phase. Other new expansionary phases are currently under study. KAHRAMAA has also started converting our existing grids into more flexible intelligent grids, allowing us to integrate new technologies from the generation mix or from the consumer side.
To what extent can Qatar meet anticipated growth in demand for freshwater leading up to 2022?
AL KUWARI: KAHRAMAA’s production plan maintains the reserve and surplus production facilities at the levels needed to avoid shortages and keep up with the average annual growth of 9% in water and energy consumption. KAHRAMAA also plans to increase Qatar’s potable water storage capabilities by building five mega reservoirs of 3500m imperial gallons and associated main pipelines. The project will provide a seven-day water storage capacity, with normal consumption and more than three weeks of controlled consumption, and is expected to be completed in early 2016.
What opportunities are being developed to encourage private sector participation in the sector?
AL KUWARI: All water and electricity production is given to the private sector through independent water and power projects (IWPPs), and independent power producer agreements where KAHRAMAA buys the total water and electricity production via purchase agreements for the total duration of the projects. Both water and electricity production are very open to the market for any private investors who meet the technical and financial requirements. KAHRAMAA recently announced Facility D IWPP, which will have a generation capacity of some 2400 MW and 130m gallons per day (gpd) by 2018. This is in addition to an independent water project in Ras Laffan with a proposed capacity of 90m gpd.
How are standards being implemented to promote the efficient use of water and electricity?
AL KUWARI: A national campaign for the efficient use of water and electricity known as “Tarsheed” was launched in April 2012, and has spearheaded various initiatives to promote conservation. For example, we are coordinating with other government bodies to improve building codes. Further to this, restricting imports and replacing low-efficiency fixtures with higher-efficiency equipment will help Tarsheed achieve its targets of reducing per capita consumption (measured in cu metres per person) of water consumption by 35% in five years, and decreasing per capita electricity consumption (KWh per person per year) by 20% in five years.
In what ways has KAHRAMAA placed emphasis on the development of renewable energy?
AL KUWARI: The largest potential for sustainable energy in Qatar comes from direct sunlight. Recent studies have identified four potential sources of solar energy: solar power from photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, concentrating solar high-temperature heat for industries, as well as solar thermal low-temperature heat for buildings. We have started an initiative to build a solar plant of 200 MW, to be divided into smaller plants. We are now in the tendering stage of the pilot project to supply the first 10 MW, after which we will move forward with the large-scale project. By 2020, we should have reached our goal of obtaining 200 MW of power from solar energy, equivalent to 2% of Qatar’s installed electricity-generation capacity. In general, we encourage our partners in the private sector to build their own solar panels and use their facilities to produce energy. Qatar Foundation has their own projects and are already producing their own electricity. This feed will be connected to our grid in the next few months. We are also studying different incentives to encourage investment in this sector, for example feed-in tariffs. We will be open to discussing investment opportunities and business ventures that provide profitable inputs in this sector.
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