Bahrain embraces solar power

In one of the first major solar energy projects in the Middle East, Bahrain plans to implement a solar smart grid in Awali. "The Middle East has for some time evaluated the integration of solar energy for reduction of reliance on non-renewable energy sources,” said Marty Youssefiani, CEO of Caspian Energy Holdings. “However, Bahrain is among the first in the region to implement a project of this kind, demonstrating a serious commitment to long term solutions."

Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) is implementing five megawatt solar power 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,” said Minister of Energy Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza. “Following a successful implementation of this pilot project we expect that other projects will follow in the near future."

"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," said Gordon Smith, CEO at the Bahrain Petroleum Company.

Masdar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala investment company, will join France’s Total and Spain’s Abengoa Solar in spending $600 million (€504.2 million) on building the world’s largest concentrating solar power (CSP) plant.