Kuwait plans to sign a deal to import electricity from Qatar next week to cover possible power shortages until 2010, Kuwaits electricity and water minister was quoted as saying on Saturday by state news agency KUNA.
Kuwait has one of the worlds highest per capita power consumption rates and has struggled to keep up with rising demand. When temperatures in the desert peak at around 50 degrees Celsius, Kuwaits grid struggles to deal with demand for air conditioning.
The Gulf states are building the grid to help meet spiralling demand for power. In the first phase, the grids of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar have been linked and that of Oman and the UAE are to be linked under phase two.
The body, called Gulf Co-operation Council Interconnection Authority, is a joint stock company owned by the six Gulf states. The grid’s first phase will have a capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
The project cost is being met by member states in proportion to the benefits they can get from it.
Links between the grids of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar are being tested and should be up and running in the summer.
Kuwait has said it plans to boost power capacity to around 16,000 megawatts, from 10,000 MW, by 2012. Bin Salama expects 2010 to be critical for the Gulf Arab state as new projects to boost capacity would still be under construction.
Maintenance that Kuwait has carried out recently should help avoid power cuts in 2009, bin Salama said.
Talks over gas imports from Qatar are continuing despite some difficulties, bin Salama said, without giving more details. Qatars Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said last month it hoped to conclude talks over gas supplies to Kuwait at “any time”.