In one of the first major solar energy projects in the Middle East, Bahrain yesterday announced plans to implement a solar smart grid in Awali, paving the way for future smart cities in Gulf. “The Middle East has for some time evaluated the integration of solar energy for reduction of reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
However, Bahrain is among the first in the region to implement a project of this kind, demonstrating a serious commitment to long term solutions,” Marty Youssefiani, CEO of Caspian Energy Holdings, said. Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) is implementing five megawatt solar capacity into a wireless smart grid network in cooperation with Petra Solar, Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and Caspian Energy Holdings. The grid circumvents common interconnection issues and costs of traditional solar systems because of its ability to install into the current transmission and distribution infrastructure. Bahrain intends to spread similar sustainable technology across the country in the future.
“The project in Awali represents just the first step in a series of initiatives by NOGA to diversify the sources of energy needed to ensure the sustainable development of the Kingdom. Following a successful implementation of this pilot project we expect that other projects will follow in the near future,” Minister of Energy Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza said. With this project, Bahrain aims to ultimately transform its energy sector into one that is more environmentally friendly.
“The landscape of Awali will be changed by this initiative; but more than the landscape, the operating philosophy of BAPCO which relied totally on fossil fuels for generating its electricity, will also change as a result of this project,” Gordon Smith, CEO at the Bahrain Petroleum Company,said.