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Kuwait to increase electricity capacity by 2014

Kuwait is set to dramatically increase the countrys power capacity to 17,500MW by 2014, up from the current capacity of 12,000MW, according to Minister of Electricity, Badr al-Shuraian.

The world's fourth-largest oil exporter is looking at meeting growing energy demands and the expansion of the country's electricity grid is part of a larger four-year development plan worth US$106.3bn.

Al-Watan quoted the minister as saying that the government will spend over $21.3bn on power and water projects. The hot climate is the primary reason for the Kuwait's high consumption of energy with around 70 per cent of energy being consumed by air conditioning. The country also relies heavily on desalinated water from other Gulf countries as Kuwait has limited fresh water resources.

The minister explained that the production of desalinated water will increase from 400 million gallons a day to 600 million gallons by the end of the development plan in 2014. Kuwait signed a number of important water deals in October worth US$414.8mn.

The largest of these was a US$257mn project, awarded to Swiss-based ABB Group and Kuwaiti construction company Ahmadiah Group, to construct and upgrade the Mina Abdullah water pumping plant and distribution network in southern Kuwait. The plant will pump about 1.5 million cubic meters of water a day from two desalination plants which will more than double Kuwait's fresh water supply.

Peter Leupp, head of ABB's Power Systems division explained the significance of the project, "the Mina Abdullah water plant is an integral part of Kuwait's infrastructure development efforts and will help serve the growing water needs of the region."