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Wednesday , November 25 2020

MEW’s statistics open door for controversies

Current expansions of housing projects in focus

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 1: The statistics issued by the Ministry of Electricity and Water has opened the door for controversy again regarding the ministry’s ability to fulfill future energy commitments, in light of the current expansions of housing projects, foremost of which is the Mutla’a project, reports Al-Qabas daily.

According to the statistics issued two days ago, on future projections of the installed capacity of electric power stations between 2020 to 2025, will remain constant from the beginning of this year until the end of 2022, as it reaches 19,968 MW during that period, noting that it includes 250 MW added recently from the combined cycle steam unit project at the Az-Zour South power plant.

As for the real leap, it is scheduled to take place in 2025, as the total installed capacity is expected to reach 26,518 megawatts, with an increase of 5,700 megawatts at once, as 1,200 megawatts will enter the network from the Al-Khairan power plant project ‘the first phase’ and 2,400 megawatts from the Nuwaiseeb power plant project. The Ministry estimates the cost of the first phase at 850 million dinars, and finally 1,800 megawatts of the second and third phase project for the Az-Zour North power station after their merger.

Obstacles
There is a concern due to the obstacles that have faced the three projects over recent years, whether the Az-Zour North and Khairan projects that are implemented by the Partnership Projects Authority (PPA) or the Nuwaiseeb power plant project to be implemented by the Ministry of Electricity itself, which is the largest project in its history, with total production during various stages of 7,200 MW, said the daily quoting sources.

The sources pointed out that the implementation of these projects is very slow, despite the recent moves, and signing the contract with a global consultant responsible for specifications for the Az-Zour and Al- Khairan power plants, as well as the Central Agency for Public Tenders (CAPT) announcing a tender for soil inspection for the Nuwaiseeb power station site, which witnessed a major breakthrough after its failure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so that hope remains for a similar step for the other tenders for the same station from the same global consultant, whose documents have also been kept by the agency for a long time.

The sources pointed out that the last steps on the level of these projects are very late, given that the second phase of Az-Zour North — before the decision to merge the second and third phases together — was supposed to enter service currently, and likewise it was assumed that the first phase of Al-Khairan station, and the third of Az-Zour North, construction has begun in them at the moment. Sources warn that the failure to complete the scheduled stages of the three projects by 2025 means that the ministry will inevitably suffer partial inability to fulfill its obligations, expecting that the implementation of the first phase of the Nuwaiseeb station will be delayed — at least — from its scheduled date so it is anybody’s guess about the ability of the PPA and the private sector to complete the projects on schedule.

The sources add that the various regulatory authorities should shake off the dust of bureaucracy and help the ministry to fulfill its obligations towards citizens and the state in general, especially since these control measures also affect what is implemented by the PPA.

According to the sources, concerns increase not only for the entry of giant housing projects, as well as malls and large commercial expansion projects in the coming years, but for the aging of some of the current stations that have been operating for decades, as it is known that the Doha East and South Shuaiba power stations were due to be put out of service within two years — 2020 and 2021 — a plan that has been postponed due to the delay in completing new projects, as well as a significant delay in floating tenders for the rehabilitation of boilers and turbines in other plants, to ensure their efficiency during the coming years, as they are maintenance operations that differ significantly from those that are conducted annually.

Sources said that the stations sector began in early September to implement the annual maintenance program at the level of the various stations, and that arrangements are currently underway with the responsible authorities in the country to facilitate the recruitment of experts from several countries, including Japan, Italy, India, Malaysia and Korea, as the matter needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers, the Interior and Health ministries, to facilitate the process of their entry in light of the current conditions. Informed sources considered that the ministry’s current reassurance that there is an abundance in production does not mean never worrying about the situation in the future, especially since the plans for building new stations faced a very big disruption in recent years.

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