Bahrain signs region’s first major solar energy project

The National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and Caspian Energy Holdings inked an agreement for a five megawatt with distributed smart solar energy project that will bring solar power and smart grid benefits to the BAPCO township of Awali, the University of Bahrain and other locations in Bahrain.

NOGA, Bapco and Caspian Holdings signed an agreement with Petra Solar, a technology company focused on providing reliable, cost-effective smart energy solutions to the electric supply industry.

The project will leverage smart solar power technology developed in the US by Petra Solar to generate electricity in a reliable way that stabilizes the grid and will potentially create jobs at several skill levels in Bahrain.

The project, a collaborative effort among the US consortium, NOGA, BAPCO, The Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), academia, industry, and government, demonstrates Bahrain’s commitment to solve the challenges of energy security, climate change, and economic development through global partnerships and collaboration. It is the first phase of a national energy plan to generate electricity from renewable sources. Smart solar is an innovative approach that couples solar with smart grid technology and is deployed in partnership with utility companies to generate clean, safe renewable energy while making the electric infrastructure more stable, efficient and energy independent. This approach builds large scale solar in a reliable fashion that avoids future costs of rebuilding the grid.

"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. Through forming strategic alliances with technologically advanced partners, NOGA aims to diversify the energy supply sources that will help achieve the goals of Bahrain Vision 2030," His Excellency Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza – Minister of Energy, Chairman of The National Oil and Gas Authority, said.

"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. Through this step BAPCO reinforces its image as a responsible corporate citizen that cares for the environment and the community we live in," Gordon Smith – Chief Executive, The Bahrain Petroleum Company said.

The project, featuring a high-tech research and development component inside Bahrain, offers the country a chance to be a leader in the new energy future. It is the first step in building a powerful ecosystem in Awali, based on Petra Solar’s technology.

"Solar power and a stable electric grid are critical elements to Bahrain developing economic and energy security," said Dr. Shihab Kuran, President and CEO of Petra Solar.

"In Awali, we are deploying solar power plus we are building a wireless smart grid network, which is the foundation for command and control of the smart solar systems and unique smart grid applications. Petra Solar is the market leader in advanced smart energy technologies for Smart Cities, incorporating ubiquitous renewable energy and smart grid technology, coupled with autonomous and centralized command and control."

"The Middle East has for some time evaluated the integration of solar energy for reduction of reliance on non-renewable energy sources," Marty Youssefiani, CEO of Caspian Energy Holdings, said.

"Bahrain, however, is among the first in the region to implement a project of this kind, demonstrating a serious commitment to long term solutions." The chief executive added, ""This consortium brings together a broad array of expertise and superior technologies in support of a world-class project, showcasing the future of sustainable, renewable, clean energy." Published by HT Syndication with permission from 24*7 News.