Peak power demand is accelerating across the Middle East, according to research by MEED. In the summer of 2010, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt all experienced greater peak demand growth than in the summer of 2009. 

Despite expectations in Bahrain that peak demand would increase at a lower rate than the 10 per cent forecast used by the Electricity and Water Ministry, the peak requirement was actually 11 per cent higher than 2009 at 2,708MW. “Some expected that the real-estate downturn would reduce the peak demand to perhaps 6 per cent,” says a government official in the Kingdom, acknowledging that residential users account for around 60 per cent of Bahrain’s electricity use. “But it actually outpaced even the ministry’s forecast.”

Some expected that the real-estate downturn would reduce the peak demand

Bahrain government official

Peak demand in Jordan, which is currently using fuel oil and diesel in place of gas at its power plants following the attack on the Arab Gas pipeline, increased by a massive 15 per cent. The growth to 2,668MW from 2,320MW in 2009 was due to a heatwave that affected the kingdom in June.

The growth rate in Saudi Arabia was 9 per cent taking peak demand to 45,000MW. In 2009, peak power demand grew by 8 per cent to 41,200MW. In Egypt, power demand grew by 11.5 per cent to 23,500MW.

In Oman, peak demand grew by only 2 per cent as the arrival of Cyclone Phet reduced demand. Overall however average electricity demand grew by 7 per cent.

Figures are not yet available for the UAE, but MEED understands that Dubai experienced peak power demand growth of more than 9 per cent in 2010 compared to 6 per cent in 2009.