Kuwait Explores Renewable Energy Storage

Through the Shagaya Project, Kuwait is taking the initiative in building a sustainable energy future. Long neglected in the country, research in renewable energy has taken a backseat up until a few years ago, when an oil crisis forced the nation to pay attention to the volatility of fossil fuel and the promise of renewable energy. At the same time, the country has also been ignoring a number of warning signs that call for greater development of renewables, such as a finite oil reserve, environmental degradation, and global warming. The Shagaya Project, then, is a volte-face in the government’s attitude towards renewable energy research.

Dr. Salem Al-Hajraf, Executive Director of the Energy and Building Research Centre in the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, explained that the project involves the integration of energy storage technologies alongside solar-thermal, solar-photovoltaic, and wind energy generation. He added that by early 2016, a 70 mega-watt facility “will be the first utility scale power-plant from renewable energy”. The installation has been divided into three segments, a 50 MW solar thermal with 10 hours of energy storage, a 10 MW PV plant, and another 10 MW wind energy facility. The project will culminate in 2030 with a 2 giga-watt renewable energy plant that can support up to 100,000 homes.

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