Power trade yet to pick up from GCC grid, says official

January 09, 2013 - 1:02:10 am

Prof Dr Abdelmajid Mahjoub, Director General of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA)-Tunisia, speaking on the second day of 4th General Conference of Arab Union of Electricity and Exhibition yesterday. Abdul Basit

DOHA: The power trading from the GCC integrated grid has not picked up as expected,  a top official said here yesterday.

Addressing a session at the ongoing Arab Union of Electricity Conference here yesterday, Ahmed Ali Al Ebraham, COO of GCC Interaction Authority (GCCIA), said the power trading between the member countries were taking place only on some emergency basis. The ‘unscheduled exchanges’ of power is yet to pick up, he said.

There is still poor concept of trading of electricity between the member countries. We need to change this thinking and have to make power trading as part of daily market philosophy. High level of subsidies is another issue that is hitting the development of electricity market.

Currently, there exists a different type of regulatory frameworks in the region which typically does not address cross-border trade. There needs to be some kind of harmonization in the regulatory system. “We need to develop a uniform regulatory framework while maintaining the sovereignty of the member countries in terms of cross-border power trade from the grid”, he added.

Ahmed Ali said the member-countries need to develop a better transparency in the pricing too. As of now, the cross-border trade price is being fixed after negotiations. There need to be a floor price. Ideally, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will each be able to export or import up to 1, 200MW electricity from the grid. Bahrain, Qatar and UAE will be able to trade 600MW, 750MW and 900MW, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the Executive Bureau of the Council of Arab Ministers of Electricity, which met here yesterday, discussed several issues pertaining to the region’s electricity sector, including the proposed Arab electricity grid. The Executive Bureau took a number of  key decisions on the Arab grid and the process of implementation, QNA quoted H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry, as saying. 

On the grid interconnection, the meeting reviewed details of the project and appointed legal consultant to develop the legal reference for the project. The meeting also called for a greater cooperation among the Arab states for accelerating its renewable energy sector production. 

The Peninsula