Electricity generation in Kuwait
( Presentation & Analysis )
The Primary source of energy from which we obtain the electrical energy (and of fresh water) which is consumed in Kuwait is the chemical energy contained in the fuel which consists of gas and liquid oil products. The process of transforming the primary energy of the fuel into electrical energy passes through several stages inside the Power Stations (and Water Desalination Plants) which comprise special complicated equipment and plant requiring huge financial investments. These include very large boilers which burn tremendous quantities of fuels and transform be chemical energy into thermal energy that produces large quantities of high pressure super heated steam. This steam drives the steam turbines which transform the thermal energy into chemical energy which rotates the electrical generators that transform the mechanical energy into electrical energy which is exported to the network for its transmission, distribution and delivery to the consumers.
The Electrical utility mainly employs Thermal Steam Turbines for the generation of power needed to satisfy demand. However, Power Plants also include some Thermal Gas Turbines that make up around 82.7% of total installed capacity and are usually used in emergencies and during the time of peak load. Otherwise, they are kept as standby with a high degree of availability owing to gas turbines high operational costs and low thermal efficiency.
Power Generating Plants use different types of fossil fuels available in Kuwait such as natural gas, heavy fuel oil, crude oil and gas oil, depending on boiler design such as that priority is given to natural gas within the limits of the available quantities. The older plants can burn natural gas and gas oil in case of emergency while the newer ones are capable of burning the four types of fuel.
The Power Generating utility has over the last five decades developed in quantity and quality. After the erection of the first ( 3X0.75 MW ) Steam Power Station in 1952, Power Plants capacities have increased until they reached 2400 MW ( 8x300 MW ) with the commissioning of Doha West Power Station in 198384/, Az-Zour South Power Station and Subiya Power Station which is already completed and in operation.
Naturally, the erection of bigger plants with more units of larger size was the only means to keep pace with demand that kept soaring at high rates since the fifties, sixties and even the seventies but which started to slow down in the eighties. However, horizontal expansion and vertical development in generation means resulted in the following:
1. Thermal energy (input) amounts needed to generate one electrical energy unit was reduced from 12000 – 14000 BTUs in old Power Stations to 9500 – 10500 BTUs in new ones, including production of distilled water.
2. Accordingly thermal efficiency for new Power Plants has risen to 42% (Cogeneration).
3. The component covering wages, administrative and maintenance expenses in the unit cost of electrical energy generated in the new plants was reduced.
4. Plants Geography wise, were better located with favorable effects on the grid and other strategic merits.
Reference: Statistical Year Book 2010 - Electrical Energy - Ministry of Electricity & Water