New power, water, and energy projects valued at US$180 billion are underway or at the planning stages in the Middle East, as the UAE forges ahead with 20 projects worth US$34.2 billion.
Spearheaded by the US$20 billion Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, which began construction late in 2011, the UAE will be one of the most active markets in the power, water and energy sectors over the next two years, at a time when power demand across all GCC countries is expected to grow 8 to10 per cent annually.
Saudi Arabia holds the lion’s share of investment value in the region, due to the US$100 billion King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy, which begins construction in 2013. The Kingdom also has a further 15 projects worth nearly US$9 billion currently underway, or due to begin in 2012.
PROJECT UPDATE – Long-standing plans to link the power grids of Arab countries, include the construction of a 1,370km link between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The link will include a 25km subsea cable, which will cross the Gulf of Aqaba. It will provide each country with spare power capacity during peak periods of demand.
Estimates suggest the benefits could be worth as much as $10bn over 20 years. Once the connection is complete, Gulf states could trade surplus electricity with customers in Europe.