Kuwait Municipality and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (Kisr) are working on a proposal to build a 20GW renewable energy park west of Kuwait city.

The renewable energy park would be mainly solar powered, although it is unclear at this stage whether it would be mainly concentrated solar power (CSP) or photovoltaic (PV) technology.

If the project goes ahead, it would be one of the largest solar energy facilities in the world.

The renewables project is part of Kuwait’s efforts to reduce its rising fuel usage. The Ministry of Electricty and Water (MEW) estimates that by 2030, fuel consumption by the utility sector will be equivalent to 20 per cent of total hydrocarbons production. This will result in the cost of supplying electricity and water equalling 10 per cent of GDP. In an effort to tackle rising fuel costs and carbon emissions, Kuwait has set a target of providing 15 per cent of total power generation from alternative energy by 2030. 

In March, Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee (CTC) approved the award of the KD139.1m ($494.3m) contract to Spain’s Cobra to build a planned 50MW CSP plant for Kisr. The CSP plant will be located at Shagaya Renewable Energy Park, which is being developed by Kisr with assistance from the MEW.

Kisr also received bids for two other renewable energy schemes at the Shagaya park, including a 10MW PV solar plant and a 10MW wind farm. Contractors are still waiting for the two schemes to be awarded.

The projects are part of Kisr’s plans to develop pilot schemes for solar and wind energy in Kuwait. In 2011, it recruited Germany’s Lahmeyer International to conduct a study to select the optimal renewable energy solutions for the country. Germany’s Fichtner prepared the masterplan for the Shagaya development and assisted Kisr and the MEW with the tendering process.