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Wed 23 Sep 2009 08:04 AM

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Qatar power boost will end era of blackouts - official

Gulf state looks to supply GCC neighbours as new plant increases power capacity.

The days of power blackouts in Qatar are over and the Gulf state will now look to export electricity to other GCC countries struggling to meet demand, energy chiefs have announced.

An extra 1,000 megawatts have been released into the transmission network of the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) by Mesaieed Power Company’s new plant in the Mesaieed Industrial City, signalling a new era in the Gulf state's capacity.

“We will be providing the surplus to the country so it can comfortably export power to neighbouring countries through the GCC grid. There will be no power cuts in the country any more," said Abdul Majeed Shihab Al Riyahi, vice-chairman and CEO of Mesaieed Power Company (MPC) in comments published by The Peninsula on Wednesday.

The new plant will achieve its full 2,700MW capacity by April next year, the CEO added.

The plant was inaugurated in August 2008 at a total cost of $2.3bn and Qatar’s power generation capacity is expected to reach 9,000MW by the year 2012, giving it spare capacity help other Gulf countries via the GCC grid.

Last week, up to 90 percent of Sharjah was temporarily without power for hours as businesses and residents suffered one of the worst blackouts yet.

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John Verghese. P 10 years ago

It is an encouraging and welcome development for all residents in the region as the days of power blackouts in Qatar would be a thing of the past, and also because the Gulf state will soon be in a position to export electricity to other GCC countries. With an extra 1,000 megawatts having been released into the transmission network of the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) with the commissioning of the Mesaieed Power Company’s plant in the Mesaieed Industrial City, residents of Qatar, who have been affected by interrupted supply of electricity in certain areas, can now heave a sigh of relief. With the high rents in the Gulf state also showing signs of stabilising, the residents of the country have never had it so good. The comment by Abdul Majeed Shihab al-Riyahi, vice-chairman and CEO of Mesaieed Power Company (MPC): “We will be providing the surplus to the country so it can comfortably export power to neighbouring countries through the GCC grid,” is definitely a reason to rejoice. That the situation was grim prior to the new plant going live, should compel both the citizens and the expatriates in Qatar to introspect and use the available energy resource in the most frugal manner rather than indulging in excesses. Residents in some areas of the Gulf state would recall the hardship they had to undergo in the past not only on the domestic front, but also at their workplace due to the interrupted power supply caused by the inability of the transmission network to cope with the rising demand. It is easy to bask in the comfort of the barns being full in the current scenario, but with the global economic turbulence staring us in the face, it is time power is used economically and in the most astute manner. That the new plant will achieve its full 2,700MW capacity by April next year and with Qatar’s power generation capacity expected to reach 9,000MW by the year 2012, giving it spare capacity to help other Gulf countries via the GCC grid, the new development will certainly be music to the ears of the discerning in the region. It also speaks volumes about the visionary leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and the HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. With up to 90 percent of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates being temporarily without power for hours last week, leading to businesses and residents suffering one of the worst blackouts yet, the self-sufficiency of a GCC state in power generation will definitely be gratifying to all.