Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company (Adwec) expects to bring additional power generating capacity online in 2012 that will take its overall total capacity beyond the 10,000MW mark.

The extra generating capacity is necessary as demand for power is growing rapidly. In Abu Dhabi, electricity demand has increased from 6,885MW in 2010 to 7,683MW in 2011 representing an increase of 11.6 per cent. Once peak exports within the UAE are taken into consideration, demand in 2011 stands at 9,749MW. Demand peaked on 15 August.

Abu Dhabi currently exports more than 2GW of power to other emirates in the UAE. Further, in the summer of 2011 Abu Dhabi started exporting power to Bahrain. In August, it exported 50MW, which was then increased to 100MW during the early weeks of September.

Power demand continues to grow in Abu Dhabi as a result of increased demand from industry and the population. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (Adnoc) new Elxier Nitrogen plant at Al-Mirfa is one of the big electricity users.

Adnoc continues to increase the electricity it receives from Adwea in general. In 2010 it received a peak of around 256MW and this figure increased to over 500MW in 2011.Therefore, of the 800MW increase between 2010-11, about a third is derived from Adnoc’s increased demand.

Abu Dhabi’s economy is currently growing at a rate of 4.5 per cent per year. Speaking at MEED’s Abu Dhabi Conference, Adwec’s director of planning and studies Keith Miller, said demand for electricity is growing two to three times faster than economic activity.

Overall, Abu Dhabi’s demand curve is flattening over time due to the development of industry and demand from Adnoc. This is because these electricity demands are less sensitive to temperature. Consequently, the MWh demand is growing faster than the peak MW demand value.