THE NEXT PHASE

Kuwait 2017 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mohammad Boushehri, Undersecretary of Ministry of Electricity & Water, on introducing PPPs, price regimes, and increasing renewables.

Mohammad Boushehri
BIOGRAPHY
Mohammad Bousheri has been with the Ministry of Electricity & Water for 12 years and assumed the position of Undersecretary in 2014. He holds an engineering degree.

Phase I of the new power plan Az-Zour North 1 is operational now. What are the next steps?

We have a total of four projects for Az-Zour North and delivered the first one at the end of 2016. Phase II will be identical to Phase I and will deliver 1,500MW and 107 million imperial gallons of water per day. We will sign the contract with the chosen developers soon, and after that it will take around 18 months to complete the project. Phase III will be 1,000MW, without water, and Phase IV is 800MW. Another project is starting in Al-Hirahn, which is not far from Az-Zour North but on a different site. Al-Hirahn will be developed in three phases; a phase with 1,500MW and a capacity of 125 million imperial gallons of water; Phase II is 1,800MW; and we are currently designing Phase III. Looking at the history of our capacity development within MEW, these developments fit in a trend. Over the past 10 years, we have added more than 30% capacity, both for water and electricity. When Az-Zour North 1 became operational, with 1,500MW, we added 10% of our total power generation to our national capacity. The 107 million imperial gallons of water reflect around 20% of our total capacity.

The Az-Zour North projects were the first to be executed in a public-private partnership (PPP) model. Does the involvement of the private sector here represent more opportunities for the private sector to assist Kuwait in meeting its future energy needs?

In 2013 we started the first project with the private sector, which we evaluate as successful. The contractors delivered the project even earlier than the contractual deeds, which is a good sign that we can rely on the private sector. Having private-sector involvement makes the development process smoother, and we were able to do it a lower cost. We are streamlining our tendering processes now so we can rely more on the private sector for our future projects.

This year, the first meeting of the Tariff Committee took place, mandated to implement new tariffs for the use of water and electricity. What is your forecast of the price regimes Kuwait will be seeing in the years to come?

We cannot deliver figures because parliament recently issued a new law. After 50 years of having the same price regimes, almost free, we need to adjust to a new reality. According to the new law, the tariff will be changed except for residential houses, so it will be applicable for commercial, industrial, and other sectors. Altogether, we anticipate growth of our industries and our population, but the major increase in demand will come from the growing residential areas. We are now implementing smart meters in residential areas, and in the future we hope to upgrade our grid to also utilize innovative tracking technology.

How are you moving forward on your agenda to include renewables in Kuwait's energy mix?

We have committed ourselves to 15% renewables in total generation by 2030. There are small projects that have already been delivered; the big one is Shagaya, which is controlled by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). Recently, we celebrated by creating 20MW: 10MW from wind turbines and 10MW from solar panels, which is already on the grid. We are also waiting for another 50MW from the Clean Fuels Project (CFP), which will come in 2018. Other than that, we have more than 100 projects running, including housing projects where solar PVs are installed on more than 1,500 rooftops. Furthermore, we work to design a greenhouse with the possibility of using its entire roof for solar PVs. By using these rooftops and adopting additional sustainability measures, we can reduce residential energy requirements by 20-30%, and we are modeling a prototype of this project with the public authority of housing. Solar PVs can be installed anywhere, and we have them on our own ministry as well as our neighboring Ministry of Public Works, delivering 500KW and 1,000KW, respectively.