Expanding industrialisation and a rapidly growing population continue to put increasing pressure on Qatar’s power and water infrastructure. Indeed, last month, Kahramaa awarded contracts totalling $1.09bn encompassing several electricity and water projects.
These included $1.0bn for Phase 10 of expansion of electricity transmission networks, $82.3m for water projects (which also includes engineering and environmental consultancy contract for Water Security Mega Reservoirs project in Doha) and $17.5m for a pilot project on Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
In May last year, Qatar inaugurated its largest power and desalination plant with a power generation capacity of 2,730 MW and desalination capacity of 86,000 m3/day. The Ras Laffan C Independent Water and Power Plant (IWPP), also called Ras Girtas IWPP, provides Qatar with a comfortable short-to-medium term cushion on the power and water front with a power surplus of approximately 2,500 MW and water surplus of 325 MIGD of water, sufficient for the next three years.
Abhay Bhargava, Head, Energy and Power Systems Practice, Middle East and North Africa pointed out that Qatar currently enjoys over 30% excess capacity in its power system, giving it the ability to export power through the newly completed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Grid. According to Frost & Sullivan, Qatar will be able to maintain this excess equation and shall stay a net-exporter over the next decade, all the way up to the Football world cup (2022).
While the predominant fuel will still be gas, renewable energy is expected to increase contribution over the decade. “There is definitely a potential for up to 1GW of solar power in Qatar in the near future,” said Bhargava. Driving this potential are Qatar’s plans to rely mainly on solar energy for desalination in the future and renewable energy targets for the world cup.
It is a well known fact that Qatar is one of the highest per-capita energy intensity countries in the world. The country is additionally going through a rapid development phase with significant ongoing investment towards the development of infrastructure for events and industries.
Additionally, there is a pressure to enhance efficiency across the entire power infrastructure. These factors, coupled with an increase in renewable sources, are creating a need to enhance and smarten the grid, which would allow for distributed sources of generation, enhanced efficiency, greater control, and a higher penetration.
Smart grids can play a vital role in the country to address some of these issues. Recognising this, Kahramaa has already initiated a smart metering pilot with Siemens last month, leading to an implementation of approximately 17,000 meters up to 2013.
“This pilot is expected to lead into a full blown smart grid implementation project in the decade, allowing Qatar to compete for the slot of being the first country in the GCC region to embrace a holistic solution,” said Bhargava.
Based on excerpts shared by Frost & Sullivan from their upcoming Power and Distribution transformers GCC market report, the transformers market in Qatar is set to grow. Qatar constitutes nearly 15% of the GCC Power Transformers market, and is expected to grow from a market position of $225 million (2011), by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.6% by 2016, with the 10.1 – 100 MVA segment expected to hold the highest share. In the power distribution market, Qatar holds a relatively diluted position. The market in Qatar was valued at approximately $77 million in 2011 and is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 11% by 2016.
Bhargava continued: “While high price competition is expected to be a common challenge impacting the transformers market in Qatar, the distribution transformers market is expected to provide an additional challenge, in terms of high entry barriers for non-local businesses.”