Fewa to finish utility projects in two years

Federal National Council meeting in progress. (MOHAMMED HAKEEM)

The Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) will finish installing power and water connections to industrial and commercial projects in the Northern Emirates within two years, the Minister of Energy, Mohammed bin Dhaen Al Hameli, told the Federal National Council on Monday.

"There are instructions from government higher-ups to meet power and water demands of industrial and commercial projects in the Northern Emirates within two years. We will implement these instructions and have not ignored a single application for power connections to any residential accommodation." Al Hameli said during the FNC discussion over a federal draft law on the protection of Fewa's general network.

Al Hameli unveiled new projects worth Dh4.6 billion for electricity and water in the Northern Emirates, including projects of Dh2bn funded by the Abu Dhabi Government. Agreements are currently being drawn up with contractors to execute these projects.

He said the Fewa has set an annual growth rate of seven per cent over the past years for its activities and projects in the Northern Emirates. This is a huge growth when compared to most other countries, where the rate rarely exceeds three per cent.

However, some Northern Emirates saw a growth rate of more than 25 per cent during the real estate boom, which outstripped Fewa's installation capacity. The problem worsened in the absence of co-ordination between the Fewa and municipalities in the Northern Emirates.

"The Northern Emirates' shortage of power and water will end in the next two years. The Abu Dhabi government will provide these emirates with the power and water they need as per the partnership between Fewa and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) until 2015, with an annual growth rate of five per cent.

"The Abu Dhabi Government provides electricity at good prices and Fewa aspires to balance its expenses and revenues within three years. Our partnership with Abu Dhabi will continue until 2015 and beyond. The relationship between Fewa and Adwea is like a marriage. Issues have largely improved and we did not receive any complaints over power cuts in the Northern Emirates last summer," Al Hameli said.

"Fewa's network was weak and worn-out but is currently being developed. Despite this, over the past three years we have finished 25,883 connections and work is going on to strengthen the network."

Replying to a question by FNC member Yousef Al Nuaimi about the fate of the 1000 megawatt Al Zawra powerplant, Al Hameli said: "The plant was sold to Adwea according to an agreement by which power was provided to the Northern Emirates by Adwea."

Al Hameli said Adwea had not received any applications from private sector companies for production and generation of power in the Northern Emirates.

"We have several options through which to secure energy supplies, including imports, which is the cheapest option. There is also production by gas, which is a high-value option. The third is by diesel, which is very expensive. I think importing power is the best solution.

"We currently have a project in co-operation with Masdar to obtain energy from renewable sources. Besides, the nuclear project will provide UAE with about 3,200MW in 2017.

"Fewa has a strategic plan to supply power to each location in the country. Older, small plants with capacities of 60 megawatts are being replaced with new 850-megawatt plants. The power grid connecting the UAE's four main authorities has proved useful. The electrical linkage is important for the UAE and is a strategic project for the country, especially when seasonal demand for power increases."

Al Hameli underlined the importance of the GCC power grid and said the first phase of the project, which includes Bahrain, Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait, was complete. The second phase is being implemented. This includes the link between the UAE and Oman.

 

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