Gulf should explore harnessing hybrid projects of solar and wind energy

May 17, 2010

Gulf countries should explore harnessing hybrid projects of solar and wind energy to better develop alternative energy and reduce emissions, a Gulf official has said.

“We need to have a hybrid. This region has abundant solar radiance and wind energy is perhaps 40 per cent cheaper than solar energy. Wind has so many benefits compared with solar energy,” Khalid Ahmed Bu Rashid, deputy CEO for planning and projects at Electricity and Water Authority in Bahrain, told reporters on the sidelines of Qatar Alterative Energy Investors summit in Doha.

The official said the most suitable techno-economical option could be a mix of solar and wind power due to the fact that solar energy is available for only 11 hours per day and having it round the clock involved comprehensive and intensive storage systems that would make it an expensive option.

Bu Rashid said Bahrain was currently undertaking a pilot project, expected to be running within two years. “It is not a power project as such but a prototype model that will rather give inputs for further analysis,” he said.

For the solar power using photovoltaic cell, the cost could be between $7,000 and $8,000 per kilowatt hour (kwH) while the cost of wind power is at less than $3,000 a kwH, he said.

The official said that the Gulf countries were slow in harnessing alternative energy sources because energy from fossil fuels was still cost effective.

The cost for the hybrid depended on the mix of solar and wind and will require detailed study as projects were also site-specific.

Electricity generation and seawater desalination using the “reverse osmosis” process powered by solar and wind turbines should be considered for small and medium size plants in remote areas, he said.

Professor Waheeb Al Nasser, president of the Arab section of the International Solar Energy Society, said there were up to 20 renewable energy projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, entailing a capital outgo of about $200 billion.



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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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