Major forum to review Mideast power issues
Manama, February 17, 2009
Middle East power issues including the need to add 100 gigawatts (GW) of additional power over the next 10 years to support their fast growing economies, are to be discussed during a major forum which starts today.
Apart from this, the need for more desalination and water treatment across the region will be among the key issues to be reviewed at Power-Gen Middle East 2009, which opens at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Conference Centre.
"Electricity demand in the GCC has been growing at around eight to nine per cent a year, faster than the growth recorded in any other region of the world," said PennWell Corporation conference director Nigel Blackaby.
"All the six countries of the GCC face the challenge of meeting the increasing electricity needs of a rapidly expanding infrastructure and increasing amounts of energy-intensive industrial development.
"GCC countries have already committed $100 billion to the power sector and the ambitious plans for added electricity infrastructure will require further investment of a similar order.
Such a programme of expansion brings with it a range of challenges, many of which will be debated at Power-Gen Middle East," he said.
"Although finance has not been a major issue to date, it is clear that the global credit crunch will mean lenders having to prioritise more and this may mean some projects in the region will find the going harder - some will be postponed but in the long-term the growth needs have to be satisfied," he added.
"With the Middle East having to compete with other world markets who are also rapidly expanding their energy sectors, access to raw materials is becoming harder as is the availability of qualified contractors and skilled labour.
"Despite these pressures, there are still many major projects going forward in the Gulf, including the Ad Dur Independent Water and Power Plant Project (IWPP) here in Bahrain.
"All these new project initiatives will require huge investments, will have to feature cutting-edge technology and may have implications for customer tariffs.
"There has therefore never been a greater need for power professionals to meet and compare strategies.
"It has never been more important for them to have access to and understand current developments in power engineering from around the world. PGME provides that platform," he added.
"Power-Gen Middle East is extremely important for Bahrain," said Bahrain Electricity and Water Authority assistant under-secretary Adnan Fakhro at the launch of the event yesterday.
"This is an opportunity for the industry in the GCC to meet up with experts from across the world and discuss major issues and highlight the achievements of the region.
"One major focus this year will be renewable energy and leaders across the region will also be discussing the development of a peaceful nuclear industry in the GCC."
With around 100 expected exhibitors, from over 30 countries, Power-Gen Middle East has become the most important annual meeting place for international power executives and operators with interests in the Middle East and North Africa region.
From today and until Thursday, Power-Gen Middle East will welcome over 2,500 industry professionals, who will gather for three days to enjoy the industry's leading conference and experience the latest developments and ideas for the future of the Middle East power and water sectors.
The event is held under the patronage of Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and is the region's premier conference and exhibition for the power generation, transmission and distribution and water industries and is expected to be well attended by those wanting to update their knowledge and skills and see the latest industry developments and technologies.-TradeArabia News Service