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Qatar power: gas exporter develops solar power
Qatar is a small Middle Eastern state with a population of about 2 million. It is among the world’s largest exporters of oil and gas. In terms of natural gas reserves, the country ranks 3rd in the world.
Despite the reserves of natural resources and relatively minor electricity needs, which may well be covered by gas-fired power plants, Qatar begins the development of solar energy. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and free up additional volumes of natural gas for export.
The natural conditions of the country are extremely favorable for the development of solar energy. Although, on the one hand, the territory of the country is small, on the other hand, most of it is desert, quite suitable for hosting solar energy facilities.
QEWC has entered into an agreement with Qatar Petroleum, a local oil company, to establish Siraj Power, which would build a solar power plant in the country. Construction of a 200-megawatt facility will begin in June. The power plant should start operation on April 30, 2020. There is a plan to expand the power to 500 megawatts.
Siraj Power’s capital is $ 500 million. 60% of the company is owned by the Electric and Water Company of Qatar, and 40% – by Qatar Petroleum. This is fully justified and becomes a tradition in oil-producing countries when major oil and gas companies become investors in solar energy projects. We see the same thing, for example, in Algeria.
To date, more than 11 gigawatts of generating capacity has been installed in the power industry of Qatar. This is mainly gas power plants. It is planned that by 2030, 10 more gigawatts of solar power will be commissioned in Qatar.
In 2009, Green Gulf, a research and consulting firm for clean energy technologies, was founded, supported by the Qatar Education, Science and Society Development Foundation. Currently, the company has its offices in London, Riyadh, and Doha. In Qatar, the firm coordinates a government program ‘Qatar National Vision 2030’.
Thanks to the project, valuable data on the operation of 30 different solar technologies were collected. This opens up new prospects for optimizing installations in the region, which has an excess of sunlight.