Bahrain, US firm ink solar power station deal
Manama, May 21, 2012
Bahrain has signed a deal with US-based Petra Solar, a provider of smart energy solutions to the electric supply industry, towards setting up a 5MW solar energy power station in the kingdom in the next nine months.
It could lead to Bahrain building a factory to manufacture solar energy equipment in the country, said Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza.
'This plant will bring solar and smart grid benefits to Awali, the University of Bahrain and, gradually, to other locations in Bahrain,' said Dr Mirza.
'It will leverage smart solar technology developed in the US by Petra Solar to generate electricity in a reliable way that stabilises the grid and will potentially create jobs at several skill levels in Bahrain.
'The project, a collaborative effort among the US consortium, National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga), Bapco, Electricity and Water Authority, academia, industry and government, demonstrates Bahrain's commitment to solve the challenges of energy security, climate change and economic development through global partnerships and collaboration.'
The deal was signed by Dr Mirza on behalf of Noga, Petra Solar president and chief executive officer Dr Shihab Kuran and Caspian Energy Holdings CEO Marty Youssefiani.
The project will feature a high-tech research and development component, making the country a leader in the new energy future.
It is the first step in building a powerful ecosystem in Awali, based on Petra Solar's technology.
Dr Mirza said it was the first phase of a national energy plan to generate electricity from renewable sources.
'Smart solar is an innovative approach that couples solar with smart grid technology and is deployed in partnership with utility companies to generate clean, safe renewable energy while making the electric infrastructure more stable, efficient and energy independent,' he explained.
'This approach builds large scale solar in a reliable fashion that avoids future costs of rebuilding the grid.'
Dr Mirza said the project in Awali represents just the first step in a series of initiatives by Noga to diversify sources of energy needed to ensure sustainable development in Bahrain.
'Following a successful implementation of this pilot project, we expect that other projects will follow in the near future,' he said.
'Through forming strategic alliances with technologically advanced partners, Noga aims to diversify the energy supply sources that will help achieve the goals of Bahrain Economic Vision 2030.'
Bapco chief executive Gordon Smith said the landscape of Awali would be changed by this initiative, including the operating philosophy of Bapco, which completely relied on fossil fuels for generating its electricity.
'Through this step Bapco reinforces its image as a responsible corporate citizen that cares for the environment and the community we live in,' he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Kuran said solar power and a stable electric grid were critical elements to Bahrain's developing economic and energy security.
'In Awali, we are deploying solar power plus we are building a wireless smart grid network, which is the foundation for command and control of the smart solar systems and unique smart grid applications,' he said.
'Petra Solar is the market leader in advanced smart energy technologies for Smart Cities, incorporating ubiquitous renewable energy and smart grid technology, coupled with autonomous and centralised command and control.'
Youssefiani said the Middle East had for some time evaluated the integration of solar energy to reduce reliance on non-renewable energy.
'Bahrain, however, is among the first in the region to implement a project of this kind, demonstrating a serious commitment to long term solutions,” he added.
'This consortium brings together a broad array of expertise and superior technologies in support of a world-class project, showcasing the future of sustainable, renewable, clean energy.' – TradeArabia News Service
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