Kuwait is Turning to Solar and Wind Electrical Production

By B. McPherson

In a move that surprises many at first glance, Kuwait is turning to solar and wind generation of electricity. At second glance it is a smart move to free up more  oil for export. Kuwait is aiming at producing about 10% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Currently there are no large solar or wind arrays in the country, but tenders have been let for plants.
Kuwait is currently the fifth largest oil producer in the OPEC cartel, but they are finding that demand within their own country is rising steadily and using up a big chunk of oil that could be exported. Currently about a half million barrels of oil per day are used to keep the lights on in Kuwait City and surroundings. During the hot summer months, Kuwait imports natural gas to augment the fuel needed to run air conditioners.

At the Lebanon Sustainability Week held last June, some of these ambitious plans were presented. Solar powered desalination plants were also on the drawing boards. The desalination plants are not without their burden of pollution problems. Millions have been earmarked for clean energy production.

The clean, renewable sources of energy for Kuwait will be adjuncts to the continued use of oil  and the introduction of not so clean nuclear energy. So, it is not all good news for those hoping for a clean energy future in that sunny country.
Currently, the consumption of electricity is heavily subsidized by the Kuwaiti government. Residents pay about one fifth of the rate that American consumers do.
For access to an interview with the man in charge of the state research facility on renewables, Dr. Salem Alhajraf, check out the ArabTimesOnline.

There is also an online article in Business Week by the Bloomberg group on this subject.

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