'Reckless energy waste in Bahrain must stop'
Manama, June 15, 2010
Reckless consumers are wasting Bahrain's power and water supplies because heavy subsidies make them so cheap, a minister has declared.
The annual six per cent to 10 per cent growth in demand is 'far too much', compared to between 2 per cent and 3 per cent growth in the rest of the world, said Minister in charge of the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), Fahmi Al Jowder.
'This high growth is not attributable only to the rapid economic growth, but also because of the cheap selling rate which leads to abuse and waste,' he said.
Al Jowder, who is also the Works Minister, was speaking at the opening of the Energy and Water Conservation Expo 2010 at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Present at the opening ceremony was Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, government officials, experts in the field and other guests.
The three-day event is organised by the Bahrain Society of Engineers.
'This reckless use of energy resources also leads to depletion of natural resources, the capabilities and budgets of the countries at the expense of social spending and economic growth.'
'In Bahrain, the price of electricity, for example, should be 37 fils per unit and not between three fils and 16 fils per unit we sell it for,' said Al Jowder.
'We must include here the cost of plants and equipment as well as their operation and maintenance as also the real cost of fuel.
'Add to it the cost of transmission and distribution, in addition to the energy lost in the network and the cost is whopping.'
Al Jowder said electricity consumption in Bahrain was one of the highest in the world, with an estimated rate of about 9,261 kilowatt-hours per capita, a figure that exceeds by more than three times the world's consumption average.
'Water consumption per capita in Bahrain is currently estimated at 125 imperial gallons per day, which is five times more than the minimum international standard,' he said.
Meanwhile, Al Jowder announced the launch of a national campaign with the Noga to save energy and water.
He said the EWA was investing to design a hybrid solar and wind energy station that will generate 5mw.
Al Jowder said that the plan was to increase the proportion of renewable energy utilisation to between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of total energy generation in Bahrain by 2030.
Technical studies had indicated the annual growth of energy consumption of between 6 per cent and 10 per cent would depend primarily on a recovery from the global economic crisis witnessed during the past two years, he said.
'This will lead to double the amount of fossil fuel consumption in only 10 years from now,' said Al Jowder.
'There will thus be direct consequences on Bahrain's energy security and it will lead to a financial burden on government budget.'
He said that over the last few decades, Bahrain had made swift and balanced strides towards economic development.
Al Jowder said that many factors require sustainable management of scarce resources such as non-renewable energy sources and water.
These include urbanisation, rapid expansion of infrastructure projects, the creation of modern industrial zones and the substantial growth of existing strategic industries like aluminium production, refining and petrochemicals.
The government is striving to encourage the use of renewable energy in the country, said Al Jowder.
'We are looking to stimulate renewable energy methods in buildings and villas, such as the use of photovoltaic (PV) cells on roofs of buildings, and develop an incentive programme to promote it,' he said.
Al Jowder said that the EWA was currently negotiating with Ireland's Trinity College to take advantage of their expertise in the field of rationalisation and efficiency and load management.
'We are also keen to join efforts with ministries as well as other relevant bodies and the private sector to stimulate manufacturing equipment and devices used in the generation of renewable energy such as PV cells locally,' he said.-TradeArabia News Service