BETTER LIVING

Qatar 2019 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

Kahramaa is completely aligned with the Qatar National Vision's sustainability targets and is working toward reducing the need for fossil fuels and increasing the country's renewables uptake.

Essa bin Hilal Al-Kuwari
BIOGRAPHY
Essa bin Hilal AL-Kuwari began his career by joining the Ministry of Electricity and Water in 1994 and is the current President and former managing director of Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa). Al-Kuwari has been a member and Secretariat General of the Permanent Water Resources Committee of the State of Qatar since 2012, and a member of Qatar Permanent National Emergency Committee since 2008. In 2010, he was appointed board member of the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) and has represented Qatar in the Arab Governors Water Council since 2014. He is leading the progress and expansion of Kahramaa’s businesses and activities. He earned a B.Sc. in electrical engineering from QU in 1994 and has an MBA from the University of Hull, UK.

What role will solar energy play in Qatar's energy landscape, and what other energy sources are being explored?

Qatar is working on a photovoltaic (PV) technology-based 700MW-capacity solar plant. The first phase of 350MW is expected to be commissioned by 2020 followed by another 350MW by 2021. This will support Qatar's commitment of staging the 2022 World cup as the first ever carbon-free tournament. In addition, this project will enable us to exceed the national target of 200MW of renewables by 2020. As PV technology-based solar plant output is during peak hours, it will serve as a much-needed peak plant. This project will diversify the electricity source and boost Qatar's position globally as it will offset COX and NOX emissions by reducing gas-based generation. Apart from the above, about 25MW is being produced by recycling domestic solid waste, while a feasibility study has also been completed on nuclear energy.

How is technology being used to improve the customer experience for Kahramaa's large client base?

Kahramaa has ambitious plans to install leading world class Billing and Customer Relations Management (CRM) systems to achieve a high level of service and interaction with its respected customers. This project is expected to be implemented by 2019. Kahramaa is also planning to outsource its new 24/7 call center operations. Moreover, we are in the process of implementing smart grid technologies, which will further enhance customer experience. Meanwhile, Kahramaa has enhanced its customer interactions by deploying mobile apps, social media, and several other services for its retail and bulk customers.

Kahramaa is one of the major infrastructure investors in Qatar. What would you say to any company interested in participating in Kahramaa's tenders?

Kahramaa encourages and supports foreign and local JVs with bids for all upcoming capex projects in open competitive tenders. The capex investments in all aspects of Kahramaa's infrastructure needs are still growing at a respectable level and will continue to do so for several years. For example, over the next five years, we are looking at projects worth about QAR30 billion in capex investment. In addition, Kahramaa is committed to establishing a source of locally manufactured spare parts.

How is Kahramaa promoting energy sustainability?

Kahramaa is completely aligned with the Qatar National Vision with regards to environmental issues and targets such as national gas savings. Under this initiative, the most efficient power and water producing plants are being utilized to the maximum. Less gas usage means lower emissions (CO2, NOX, SOX) and support for the clean environment drive. As discussed earlier, Kahramaa will operate a 700-MW solar power plant, which will help reduce the need for fossil fuels, and encourage renewables uptake in Qatar. Kahramaa pursues the opportunities to utilize technical and technological innovations around the world to reduce environmental impact and, in conjunction with other government entities such as QEERI and Qatar Foundation, it is also considering various initiatives to encourage community involvement in solar and other renewables. On the conservation side, Kahramaa leads the “Tarsheed" National Conservation program, under which a number of initiatives are being executed to reduce per capita consumption. District Cooling is an important contributor to reduce electricity needs due to its ability to provide cooling capacity for commercial and large residential buildings.

What is your outlook for the year ahead?

We expect yet another robust and challenging year of growth and prosperity for the nation and will continue to provide essential electricity and water services. Based on current projections, there will be no shortfall in the supply of electricity and water in the coming years, with strategic projects such as the mega reservoir, Facility E, and network expansion. Equally important, all Kahramaa projects related to the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Qatar Rail are on track. Kahramaa is also looking at various programs that serve the nation, with more responsive customer services, fiscal accountability, and on-time project execution. Our staff is capable of overcoming all business challenges and of living up to our motto of “Better Living."