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Kuwait faces power shortages as heat wave intensifies

1 min

In response to unprecedented summer heat and soaring electricity demand, Kuwait has announced temporary power cuts in various parts of the country during peak consumption hours. 

On Thursday, temperatures approached 50 degrees © Mena Today 

In response to unprecedented summer heat and soaring electricity demand, Kuwait has announced temporary power cuts in various parts of the country during peak consumption hours. 

This measure marks the first such action by the OPEC member state as it grapples with the challenges posed by climate change.

On Wednesday, Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity, Water, and Renewable Energy issued a statement detailing the planned power cuts. The ministry cited the "inability of power plants to meet increased demand" during peak hours, attributing the situation to a significant rise in temperatures compared to previous years.

"The extreme summer heat has pushed our power infrastructure to its limits," the ministry said. "As a result, we have no choice but to implement temporary power cuts to manage the load and prevent more severe disruptions."

Following the announcement, the ministry published a schedule of the expected power cuts across several regions. The cuts are anticipated to last up to two hours a day and are intended to distribute the burden more evenly across the grid.

In addition, the ministry urged residents to ration their electricity consumption to alleviate the pressure on power plants. "We ask all citizens and residents to be mindful of their energy use, especially during peak hours, to help us manage this crisis," the statement read.

Kuwait, one of the largest crude producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is also one of the world’s hottest desert nations. Climate change has exacerbated summer temperatures, making peak periods hotter and longer.

On Thursday, temperatures approached 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), according to Kuwait’s Meteorological Department. This extreme heat has significantly increased reliance on air conditioners, which are essential for comfort and safety during the summer months but also place a substantial load on the electrical grid.

To mitigate the power shortage, Kuwait has recently signed short-term contracts to import 500 megawatts of electricity from neighboring countries. This includes 300 MW from Oman and 200 MW from Qatar. These contracts are set to cover the critical summer months, from June 1 to August 31.

Despite these efforts, the current power cuts highlight the urgency for more sustainable and resilient energy solutions. The ministry emphasized the need for long-term strategies to enhance the country's power infrastructure and improve its capacity to withstand extreme weather conditions.

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