By Andy Sambidge
Industry expert says rising annual demand of 9.5% puts pressure on capacity.
The Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) power generation capacity is expected to grow by 44 percent by 2013, industry experts have said.
Council members are consolidating their energy capabilities, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait completing the first phase of a joint power grid for the region in July.
Although the GCC's current installed power capacity is at around 75,000 megawatts (MW), the annual 9.5 percent growth in demand will require more than 55,000 MW of additional power through 2015, organisers of the upcoming GCC Power 2009 Conference and Exhibition added.
Saudi Arabia, in particular, has emerged as the fastest growing consumer of energy in the GCC and rest of the Middle East, with demand for electric utilities expected to increase at an average of 5-7 percent annually.
The country is also expend to invest around SAR450 billion to generate at least 35 Gigawatts (GW) of additional power generating capacity by 2023 to 2025, which is more than double the 2005 estimate of installed capacity of 30.5 GW.
The GCC Power 2009 Conference and Exhibition in October will gather regional and global experts, authorities and investors to discuss the latest trends, challenges and strategies affecting the region's power supply amidst rapid economic and population growth.
Fadi Kayrouz, Project Manager of GCC Power at Riyadh Exhibition Company, said: "GCC countries are expected to fund as much as SAR187.5 billion in power projects between now and 2015. They will need to acquire detailed information on the technological, ecological, logistical, economic and regulatory implications of each of these critical investments to ensure power needs are met within the next decade."
The conference will gather around 500 international delegates and discuss more than 50 papers on electricity and energy, Kayrouz added.