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Mon 28 May 2007 02:22 PM

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UAE power grid to be ready by May next year

The UAE Federal Electricity and Water Authority says it is in a race against time to meet target date.

The UAE's Dh 840 million ($228.7 million) nationwide power grid will be ready by May 2008, but the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) is in a race against time to meet that date, its director general Mohammed Al Hamadi said yesterday.

"The power link between Dubai and Abu Dhabi was completed in May 2006 and the inter-connection with Sharjah is expected to finish by June 2007. By May 2008, the national power grid will be in place," Al Hamadi said, the Al Bayan newspaper reported.

"The national power grid will lay down the cornerstone for future cooperation for inter-emirates power exchange as surplus electricity will be transmitted to other emirates in need," he added.

Al Hamadi said in addition to increasing capacity to meet growing demand caused by the UAE's rapid expansion, a nationwide campaign would be launched to raise awareness about the importance of the rationale use of water and electricity.

He said a consultant had been brought in to help develop plans to ensure the long-term sustainability of these services.

Al Hamadi's comments come just days after the UAE's environment and water minister claimed water shortage would be the biggest economic, social and environmental challenge faced by Arab countries.

Speaking during a conference on water resources management, Mohammad Saeed Al Kindi said Arab cities would face a water shortage of 100 to 133 billion cubic metres a year by 2030.

In addition to the UAE-wide power grid, the GCC is also planning a grid network linking each of the six member states, which will be ready by 2010.

The project, costing a total of US $1.95 billion, is expected to reduce the cost of power generation for each of the countries and offer a channel for emergency assistance when needed.

Water and waste water investment in the Middle East is expected to reach a staggering AED 441 billion ($120.1 billion) over the next decade, according to international desalination, water, and wastewater treatment specialist Metito.

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