Interview: Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari
How can alternative energy resources be harnessed to meet rising demand in Qatar?
ESSA BIN HILAL AL KUWARI: In Qatar the main source of alternative energy is solar, as we are blessed with about 9.5 hours a day of sunshine. The Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) set renewables targets and key stakeholders such as Kahramaa are considering initiatives including the establishment of a dedicated renewables department. Recent developments include the launch of an 800-MW solar power plant at Al Karshaah, which will provide as much as one-10th of Qatar’s peak energy demand when fully operational. The country is considering several options of sourcing, either top-down, through independent power producers (IPPs) or bottom-up, through retail.
What is the state of Qatar’s electricity and water generation infrastructure, and what projects are being prioritised to ensure efficiency?
AL KUWARI: Over the last 15 years Qatar’s economy has boomed, and both electricity and water capacity was expanded to meet the consequential growing demand. There are about 10 independent water and power projects supplying water and electricity, primarily using gas as fuel. Desalination using a combined cycle is the main water production technology in Qatar, although there are a few reverse osmosis plants in the mix. Looking into the future, a new solar IPP is being planned for 2021 or 2022.
Generation infrastructure projects are designed to meet growing demand. Based on current projections, Qatar is expected to be fully self-sufficient in meeting its demand for water and electricity for the next 5-10 years, including during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country has implemented a conservation programme for both electricity and water with high targets and regular reports to enhance energy efficiency. Additionally, Kahramaa is already implementing a smart grid strategy which will improve control, operations and management of the electricity grid, as well as meet customers’ expectations.
In what ways is Qatar following the global shift towards clean energy due to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and water security?
AL KUWARI: Qatar shares similar concerns about the impact of global warming. To combat these effects, the country is working to build more sustainable utilities infrastructure. The solar IPP, for example, will enable Qatar to produce about 1.7% of its electricity from renewables resources, and the amount of water produced from reverse osmosis will exceed 20% in the next few years. The environment is a major concern and consideration in all state-level planning scenarios and the country is working to implement policies that mitigate climate change. One example of this is legislation mandating certain imported appliances – such as air conditioners and refrigerators, and phasing out inefficient lamps – meet Energy Star standards, primarily through the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency, known as Tarsheed.
To what extent do state institutions need to unify in order to complete major infrastructure projects under the QNV 2030?
AL KUWARI: Kahramaa has been working with various government agencies and other sector players on major development and infrastructure projects such as Lusail City and the Pearl in order to meet national aspirations through advanced planning, cooperation and integration. Such close coordination is an integral part of Kahramaa’s planning process and necessary to meet our customers’ demands in a timely and cost-effective manner. We also work to anticipate future needs through our annual bulk survey, which we use to assess and evaluate where the market is going years before demand presents itself.
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