Electricity Generating Stations

Electricity Generating Stations in Kuwait  

( Historical Development ) 

The discovery of oil in Kuwait, still the key source of national wealth, ushered in an era of cultural awakening and revival that involved different walks of life. Social, structural, educational and economic. Power utility played a vital role in laying down the foundations for this awakening and in satisfying the needs and requirements of such cultural march.

Relevant figures show the extent this utility has developed over the last few years.

When the majority of the people lived within its walls using kerosene lamps for lighting, show that 1934 witnessed the birth of electricity supply service when the National Electricity Company constructed the first small (DC) electric plant. Production started with two 30 kW generators and the power was distributed by +200 V (Direct Current) line. The number of consumers was rather small at first and by the end of the first year it was only 60 but then it increased and went up to 700 in 1940 and that required increasing the installed capacity to 340 KW.

A period of stagnation followed as a result of Second World War. However, by the end of the war the Company decided to Phase out the direct current system to introduce instead, a 3 phase 380/200V, 50 Hertz alternating current. A new plant comprising two (200 KW) generators was erected at Murgab, commissioned in early 1949, when a third (200KW) generator was added while the (DC) system was finally phased out in 1950. To cope with the increasing demand for electricity the company, in the meantime, obtained a used (500 KW) generator from the KOC thereby bringing up the installed generation capacity to 1100 KW (1.1 MW).

As a result of the rapid progress and growth covering all walks of life in the country, demand rose up considerably rendering then the available plants unable to cope with it. Here the Government stepped in and bought the shares of the company in 1951 and founded the Department of Electricity to provide and distribute adequate supply.

Upon taking over the Department of Electricity constructed in 1952 the first power plant at Shuwaikh near the sea shore to make use of seawater for cooling purposes. The plant started with 3 (750 KW) small units supplying steam to the first sea water desalination plant, but were retired after the erection of (4 x 7.5 MW) Station (A) in 1954/55. That was followed by (4 x 10 MW) Station (B) in 1958 retired in 1978 and (3 x 30 MW) Station C in 1961/62. Five (40.8 MW) gas turbines were added to reach 324 MW. During the year 1989, the Stations ‘installed capacity was reduced to 208.2 MW after putting out of service of 4 steam turbine units (capacity 75 MW) and 1 gas turbine unit (capacity 40.8 MW) due to their low efficiency or uneconomic operation and maintenance with a production output of 33 million kWh. In 1990, the Power Station stopped completely due to overall destruction by the Iraqi invaders.

In order to meet the increasing demand of electrical power especially after the crisis of lack of electricity during the summer of 2006, The Ministry approved an emergency plan to install (6x42 MW) Gas Turbine Units at Shuwaikh Station. All the units were commissioned during 2007 having the total capacity of 252 MW and the production output recorded as 325 Million kWh in 2009.

The growing water and power consumption rates and the creation of Shuaiba Industrial Area led to the construction of Shuaiba North P/S. The first steam turbine with a capacity of 70MW was commissioned in 1965. Since then, the station was expanded to comprise (5x70 MW) steam power generating units and (2x25 MW) gas turbines bringing up the total stations installed capacity to 400 MW. During the year 1988, the stations’ installed capacity was reduced to 330MW after putting out of service of a steam turbine unit (capacity 70 MW) due to its low efficiency or uneconomic operation and maintenance with a production output of 872 Million kWh in 1989 and 416 Million kWh in 1990. The power station was stopped completely due to destruction by the Iraqi invaders.

The continued industrial and urban development necessitated expansion of power production. So it was decided to construct a new steam power station named “Shuaiba South Station” comprising six (134 MW) generators. The first generator was commissioned in 1970. The stations installed capacity was 804 MW now has been reduced to 720 MW as all the units are above their estimated life time. In order to meet the increasing demand of electricity, the Ministry installed (3x220 MW) Gas Turbine Units. All the units commissioned during 2009. Now the total installed capacity of the stations reached 1380 MW and the production output was 4290 Million kWh in 2009. Steam Turbine generated 3794 M.kWh while the Gas Turbine produced 496 M.kWh.

In view of the continuing increase in the electric power consumption, the Ministry constructed Doha East P/S comprising Seven (150 MW) generators, the first one commissioned in early 1977. Also six gas turbine units were constructed and commissioned in summer of 1981. The stations installed capacity reached 1158 MW and production output was 4769 Million kWh in 2009.

The Ministry also constructed Doha West Power Station which comprises eight (300 MW) steam generators. It was commissioned in full before the end of 1984 and in 2008 four gas turbine units each with a capacity of 28.2 MW were added. Now the total installed capacity of the Station is 2512.2 MW (2400 MW for steam turbines and 112.8 MW for gas turbines) and total production output recorded as 12086 Million kWh in 2009.

The Ministry also constructed the Az-Zour South Power Station which comprise eight (300 MW) generators. In addition a (111 MW) gas turbine plant is already in operation. New gas turbine station (8x125 MW) was established with 1000 MW capacity which can be increased to 1040 MW (8x130 MW) under certain specific condition. First for units were officially taken over in 2004 MW and the remaining 4 units were taken over in year 2005 thus, by the end of 2005 total installed capacity reached to 3551 MW. Given the growing demand for electric power Ministry has constructed five gas turbine units each with a capacity of 165 MW and thus become the stations total installed capacity of 4376 MW (2400 MW for steam turbines and 1976 MW for gas turbines). Production output recorded as 19055 Million kWh in 2009. Steam turbines generated 11980 M.kWh while the gas Turbines produced 7075 M.kWh.

To cope with the rapid and ever increasing demands, the Ministry also constructed the Sabiya Power Station which comprises eight (300 MW) generators. During 2008 Ministry also constructed six gas turbine units each with a capacity of 41.7 MW (total 250.2 MW) and in 2009 four gas turbine units were erected each with a capacity of 62.5 MW (total 250 MW) thus the total installed capacity of the station reached 2900.2 MW.The total production in 2009 recorded as 12691 M/kWh ( 11092 M.kWh from steam turbines and 1599 M.kWh from gas turbine units).

It is evident, therefore, from the above that the all stations available installed capacity in 2009 totaled 12579 MW bearing in mind that the electrical peak load reached 9960 MW in 2009.

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry always aimed to utilized up-to-date plant and equipment, compatible with the local prevailing conditions to obtain the best economic results. This is reflected in the progressive increase in the size of production units from 7.5 MW to 10 MW to 30 MW to 134 MW to 150 MW and to 300 MW. As a result, operational and maintenance cost was reduced, not o mention the high efficiency and productivity that had a positive effect on unit production cost.

Electricity peak demand has been moving upwards in amazing leaps. The rate increase ranged around 32% in the fifties, 26% in the sixties, 15% in the seventies, 8% in the eighties and 11% in the nineties. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that during the last ten years there was a downward trend towards reasonable rates – yet, by world standard still considered high, i.e. in the range of 5 – 8% whereas in most of the industrial countries the annual increase in electric load does not exceed 2-3%. Naturally the rise in electric load and consumption is a direct result of the harsh climatic conditions and of the rapid economic and construction growth in the country’s private and public sectors. However, the rise in per capita average rate of consumption reflects the extent of luxury and abundance enjoyed by the people, meanwhile, it plainly indicated aspects of waste and extravagance prompted and encouraged by the very cheap price of electricity.

However, the figures and statics exhibited in this book demonstrate the work and effort exerted in the last five decades to promote the electric services to its present status.

Reference : Statistical Year Book 2010 - Electrical Energy - Ministry of Electricity & Water