According to the World Bank, Kuwait generated electricity of the capacity of in 2011 alone using crude oil and petroleum products (Trading Economics). The heavy reliance on the crude oil and petroleum products for electricity generation in the country meant that 61.99% of the country’s total capacity in that year was produced from crude oil and petroleum products. The carbon emission from the electricity generated from oil has been the foremost contributor to the depletion of the Ozone layer. In 2013 alone, the carbon emission from the Kuwait due to the utilization of the crude oil and petroleum products was 91.3 Mt which is larger than that of Saudi Arabia and Japan attracting global attention (Trading Economics). The increased electricity use has also raised the country’s expected capacities especially in the hotter months where most homes use AC’s. The increased demand in electricity indicate that more barrels of crude oil will have to be used to generate electricity which has a negative impact on the non-renewable oil reservoirs. Therefore, for Kuwait to reduce the carbon emission and meet the increased electricity demand without exhausting the oil reservoirs, then the country has to find alternative means of electricity generation. In this proposal, three alternative energy sources will be explained which include wind power technology, nuclear power technology and solar power technology.
WIND POWER TECHNOLOGY
Wind power technology utilizes the ever renewable wind resources to drive wind turbines which in turn generates electricity. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, by the end of 2016, the total installed capacity of wind power energy was 487 countries such as US, India, China and Germany leading in the installed capacities (GWEC). The growth of the wind power technology has been the fastest for any other energy alternative growing with double digits since 2001. Since wind power technology does not involve fuel cost which are known to fluctuate according to global economic conditions, the price of wind power technology is relatively stable. Considering commercial wind power technology, the capital cost is significantly higher than that of setting up a thermal generation plant. However, the marginal and operational costs are insignificant once the plant is set up. Environmentally, wind power technology show a significant difference in carbon emission compared to the oil generated electricity. Actually, Wind power is considered one of the cleanest energy forms with an average emission of 34.11g of per kWh (WNA ). However, wind turbines generate a lot of noise and cause mortality of birds.
NUCLEAR POWER TECHNOLOGY
The nuclear power technology utilizes nuclear reactions, mostly nuclear fission of Uranium, to produce very high degrees of heat enough to generate quality steam. The generated steam is used to run a steam turbine thereby generating electricity. According to the World Nuclear Organization, nuclear power technology is present in 31 countries which 440 nuclear power plants in operation by January 2017 that sum up to 390,000MW of total installed capacity (WNA). Economically, similar to the wind power technology, nuclear power technology demands a high capital costs. The capital costs of setting up a nuclear power plants largely outweigh the capital costs of setting up a thermal power plant (used for generating electricity from crude oil). However, the marginal costs are low and relatively stable compared to the oil generated electricity. The cost of the fuel (chemical reagents) constitutes a very small percentage of the total generating costs. Environmentally, nuclear power technology produces a very small percentage of greenhouse gas emission which stands at 29 tonnes/GWh, almost equivalent to the wind power, compared to the oil generated electricity which contributes to 733 tonnes/GWh (WNA). However, the storage of nuclear waste and decommissioning of nuclear power plant poses health risks and consume huge sources of funding.
SOLAR POWER TECHNOLOGY
The solar power technology employs the photovoltaics (PV) or the concentrated solar power to generate electricity from the solar energy. Using the photovoltaics, a PV cell (also called solar cell) is able to convert the light from the sun into direct current, which is later stored or converted to alternating current through the use of an inverter. The concentrated solar power (CSP) uses different configuration of mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun’s thermal energy which the produces steam that drive steam turbines to generate electricity. The capacity of installed solar power globally is 178GW with countries such as China, Japan, USA, Germany, United Kingdom and France leading in the installed capacity (Harrington). Economically, solar power technology is much cheaper than the oil generated electricity. The capital cost of installing a new PV system are very high per MW compared to the construction of a thermal power plant. However, the maintenance and operations cost are very minimal, almost insignificant. A PV system can last for about 25 to 40 years. The carbon emission from solar power technology is higher than both wind and nuclear power technologies at 37 tonnes/GWh but still vary significantly to the oil generated electricity at 733 tonnes/GWh. However, solar cells involve Cadnium which is toxic to life when consumed in low contents (WNA).
A cross examination of the three technologies reveals that wind power technology is the most suitable energy option for Kuwait’s increasing energy demand. The wind power technology is cheaper compared to either the nuclear and solar power technology. Wind power is also more reliable compared to the solar power technology and more stable compared to the nuclear power technology. Wind power technology also has the least carbon emission among the three technologies. The implementation of the wind power technology will take only six month which involves procurement and assembly of the wind turbines as well as installation of the transmission lines and respective power system equipment. The wind turbines will be installed in the northern parts of Kuwait which have been found to have reliable potential wind resources at a standard height of 10 meters (Al-Nassar et al. 2149). 100 turbines will be installed with a total capacity of 150MW (1.5MW each).
- Al-Nassar, W. et al. “Potential Wind Power Generation In The State Of Kuwait”. Renewable Energy, vol 30, no. 14, 2005, pp. 2149-2161. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.renene.2005.01.002.
- GWEC. “Global statistics.” GWEC, www.gwec.net/global-figures/graphs/ . Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.
- Harrington, Rebecca. “These 10 countries are leading the world in solar energy.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 15 Mar. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/best-solar-power-countries-2016-3?international=true&r=US&IR=T . Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.
- Trading Economics. 2011. “Electricity production from oil sources (KWh) in Kuwait.” Electricity production from oil sources (KWh) in Kuwait, www.tradingeconomics.com/kuwait/electricity-production-from-oil-sources-kwh-wb-data.html. Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.
- WNA. “Greenhouse gas emissions avoided through use of nuclear energy.” World Nuclear Association, 2016, www.world-nuclear.org/nuclear-basics/greenhouse-gas-emissions-avoided.aspx . Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.
- WNA. “Nuclear Power in the World Today.” Nuclear Power Today | Nuclear Energy – World Nuclear Association, 2016, www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-power-in-the-world-today.aspx . Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.