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Mon 19 May 2008 11:41 AM

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UAE joins GCC power grid

Emirates fulfilled financial obligations to join pan-Gulf project, expected to be fully operational by 2010.

The UAE officially joined the current phase of the $1.6 billion GCC power grid on Sunday,  state news agency Wam reported.

The director of planning at the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation, Yousef Ahmed Janahi, announced that the UAE had fulfilled the financial obligations to join the pan-Gulf power grid, expected to be fully operational by 2010, Wam said.

Phase one of the project will see Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain linked to the North Grid, while the UAE and Oman will form the South Grid in phase two. The third phase of the project will link the two sections of the grid.

Janahi said the draft of the multilateral grid agreement was ready for submission to the GCC secretariat.

The GCC hopes the construction of a common power grid will pave the way for a regional electricity market that could eventually facilitate regional trade and encourage the private sector to participate in power generation projects in the GCC.

The construction and management of the grid is handled by the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), a joint stock company owned by the six GCC states.

Construction began in 2004 with each state contributing equally to the development, estimated to cost around $1.6 billion. The first phase is scheduled to come online by the second quarter of 2009.

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