Power grid main characteristics
Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) is the first cross-border electrical interconnector in Middle East region. GCCIA connects the six countries of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) namely Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) through overhead lines and submarine cables.
“Serve the GCC countries and beyond, by leading the development of a reliable efficient power market, and providing knowledge excellence in power systems integration”
The GCC Member States are already receiving numerous benefits from the Interconnector operated by the GCCIA through namely savings on installed capacity expansions and reduced costs of operating reserve. Member States can gain even more on a daily basis if power trading is effectively launched.
The GCCIA, as most of the modern transmission system operators do, can and should also play a major role in the implementation and development of an efficient power trading in the GCC region. GCCIA aims to create a regional power market in the GCC countries to optimize the use of fuel resources. Towards this, GCCIA continuously conducts interactive seminars, workshops and forums to establish common grounds among the GCC power authorities. GCCIA has also launched various schemes for promotion of power trade among GCC countries. On the other hand, the ministries /regulators of the member states are also working on unbundling of power utilities and initiation of power sector reforms. GCCIA has already in place necessary infrastructure for carrying out power trade among member states. A bilateral trading system gives countries visibility over capacity in other member states and enables them to place bids using yearly, monthly or daily options. This is facilitated by the GCCIA, which then arranges transmission.
In time, the system will become more sophisticated, ultimately enabling countries beyond the GCC to balance energy demand and supply. On this trajectory, GCCIA is working for interconnection with other grids such as the Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey (EJILST) grid and the Maghreb Arab grid that promises abundant opportunities to export surplus power to other regions (for example, to export surplus power from the GCC region during the winter period when demand is low to Europe where winter power demand is high). This market also would encourage energy interchange during seasonal diversity with the peak demand during the hot summer seasons in the GCC region being supplied by regions where demand is low. Therefore, the development of a regional market through the GCC grid can provide alternative solutions to exporting energy through natural gas / oil by exporting of power.
For GCC member states, GCCIA interconnector is more than the economic benefits and energy security; it is the strategic project for the region, which reflects the strong bonding among the GCC member states. Evidently, the project has the backing of the GCC leaders and the support of electricity ministers to provide support to each other in case of emergencies.