Kuwait's Shagaya Renewable Energy Park Sees Construction Begin

  • Solar photovoltaic, thermal units to have 60-megawatt capacity
  • Nation wants to produce 15% of energy from renewables by 2030

Construction work began this month on Kuwait’s Shagaya renewable-energy park, starting with a photovoltaic plant.

The solar facility, being constructed by Spain’s TSK Electronica y Electricidad SA and local construction company Kharafi National, will form part of the park that’s being built about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the capital, Kuwait City. The photovoltaic plant will have a 10-megawatt capacity and should be connected to the grid in the first half of 2016, according to TSK. The park’s first phase will also include a 50-megawatt solar thermal plant.

Kuwait has set a target of producing 15 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2030. The Shagaya facility is being developed by the country’s Ministry of Electricity and Water and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, which in September signed a contract with Gijon, Spain-based TSK for the initial solar elements for 362 million euros ($399 million).

Oil-rich Kuwait imports between 3.75 billion and 4 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas each year to run its power plants, according to Matthew Bey, an energy analyst at Stratfor Enterprises LLC in Austin, Texas.

“A move into renewables would allow the country independence from the LNG imports and respond to its growing demand for electricity, that is likely to grow to 12 to 15 gigawatts in the next decade or so,” Bey said in a Dec. 11 phone interview.

Ultimately the target is for the facility to produce more than 1.1 gigawatts of solar thermal, in excess of 700 megawatts of photovoltaic and about 140 megawatts of wind energy, according to the institute.

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