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Bahrain rules out nuclear power for now

8 February 2012 – A boss at Bahrain’s Electricity & Water Authority has ruled out the country of having a nuclear power plant in the near future.

Adnan Fakhro, the company’s chief executive of distribution, said he felt Bahrain was not ready to commit to the massive cost needed for a nuclear facility.

“You are talking about huge investment and Bahrain is a small country,” he said. “We would rather have a big plant in another country with cross-border capabilities.”

Speaking at POWER-GEN Middle East in Qatar yesterday, Fakhro also wondered if the current frantic pace of building new power plants in the Middle East could be sustained.

 “There is a huge demand to keep up with growth and we rely on foreign investors to build the plants. Can they sustain it? High demand means the cost will go up, so cost is going to be a challenge.”

Another speaker suggested that power firms take their foot off the gas on building bigger plant and instead rethink their supply game plans. With electricity consumption in GCC countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – said to be running at six times the world average and air conditioning accounting for a sizeable slice of this power, there was a shared belief among the panel that it was time to make the consumer play their part in the energy battle.

Corrado Sommariva, managing director of ILF Consulting Engineers Middle East, said: “We are running with the energy philosophy that we had 30 years ago. Energy efficiency is what must be tackled.”

And involving the customer would become easier – and necessary – with the introduction of Smart Grids, said Bander Allaf, senior manager of business development at Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power.

He said the introduction of Smart Grids to the Middle East would change the customer from having a “consumer-only relationship to a two-way communication with the utility”.