Historical Tour

Electricity Power:

Discovering oil in Kuwait, which is consider the basic source of national wealth, has the big influence in beginning of civilization advancement in Kuwait, and this advancement has include the different aspects of live, such as social, constructional, educational, economical aspects. Electricity has played a basic role for placing piles of this progress and satisfying the different needs of the country when abilities of these vital services have been significantly developed in line with production development of electricity power in Kuwait.

First: Very Beginnings

Electricity has entered Kuwait in 1913 by and English Indian engineer his name is N. S. BAYANKAR when an agreement has been entered with Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah in 13/10/1913 for conducting electricity for Al-Saif Palace against an amount of Rupees 700 for operating 400 lambs provided with machine run by kerosene. In 1934, the real beginning of electricity has been introduced for electric services in Kuwait when the first small power plant had been established by Electricity National Company. Production in this plant began with two generators, capacity of each is 30 Kilowatts. Distribution was done through continuous current (200 volts). In beginning, subscribers were not big number, in the first year, their number was 60 subscribers only. The subscription increased continuously to reach 70 subscribers in 1940. Compound ability raised to be 340 kilowatts. It was due to dependence of the citizen on kerosene lambs or the other oils which had ability to give light energy.

Although this simple beginning compared to number of population in that time, this step was faced by stagnancy due to circumstances of the Second World War.  Once the war is ended, the Company decided to cancel continuous current gradually to use three phase alternate current in pressure of 380/220 Volts and frequency of 50 hertz. The Company established power generation plant in Mergab Area which included two generators, capacity of each 200 Kilowatts beginning to work in 1949.

Thereafter, the third generator, in capacity of 200 kilowatts was added. In 1950, the Company has completely stopped working using the continuous current. For satisfying the increasing demand for the electricity, the Company obtained an used generator in capacity of 500 kilowatts of Kuwait Oil Company, which was entered service in beginning of 1951. Compound power generation ability has reached 1100 kilometer (i.e. 1,1 megawatt).

Second: Development of Electricity Power

Due to quick progress in the country in the different living aspects and the citizens began to leave using of the primary lambs, the demand significantly increased for electricity which makes the existing plants unable to satisfy the increasing demand. Therefore, the Government deliberately, in 1951, to buy shares of Electricity National Company and to establish General Department of Electricity and this department was charged to provide and distribute electricity.

Al-Shuwaikh Plant:

After delivery of responsibility of Department of Electricity, the Government, in 1952, has established first steam plant for generating power in Al-Shewaikh, near the coast to get benefit of seawater in cooling process. In beginning this plant included three small steam units, capacity of each 750 kilowatts. The first plant was provided with steam for distilling seawater. These units stopped to work when three plants were established, the first plant was established in 1954/1955, its capacity was 7.5X4 megawatts, then the second one, in 1958, in capacity of 10X4 megawatts (stopped to work in 1978), and finally the third plant established in 1961/1992 in capacity of 30X3 megawatts.

In 1977, five gas generating units were added, capacity of each is 40.8 megawatts. So, the total ability for the plant is 324 megawatts. Then, total compound ability of the plant reduced in 1989 to be 208.2 megawatts. Then, four steam units (the compound ability is 75 megawatts) and one gas unit (the compound ability is 40.8 megawatts) were place out of the actual services due to reduction of its efficiency or lack of economic feasibility to be repaired and rerun. Its production has reached 33 million kilowatts per hour.

Shuaiba North Plant

Due to establishing of Al-Shuaiba Industrial Area, on one hand and on the other hand increasing of consumption rates of the electrical energy, North Shuaiba Plant was established by commencing operating of steam turbine in 1965. This plant was extended to consist of five steam generation units, capacity of each is 70 megawatt and two gas generation units, capacity of each is 25 megawatts. Electricity power for the plant has reached 400 megawatts since adding a steam unit (compound power is 70 megawatt), out of the actual service due to less efficiency or lack of economic feasibility to be repaired to rerun. Its production has reached 872 million kilowatt per hour in 1989 and 416 million kilowatt per watt in 1990.

Shuaiba South Plant

Due to continuous industrial and constructional development, there is a bad need for more electricity power. Therefore, it is decided to establish a new plant in Shuaiba named “South Shuaiba Plant”, consisting       of six generator capacity of each is 134 megawatts. The first generator begins work in 1970. Total compound electricity power for the plant reached 804 megawatts, its production has reached 3032 million kilowatts per hour in 1998.

Al-Doha East Plant

Due to continuous increase in electricity power, the Government established Al-Doha East Plant, which is consisting of seven generator ability of each, 150 megawatts. It was operated for first time in beginning of 1977. Also, six gas units was operated in summers 1981, so total current plant is about 1158 megawatts and total production is 4630 megawatt per hour in 1998.

Al-Doha West Plant

The government has established Al-Doha West Plant which is consisting of steam generators, capacity of each 300 megawatts. It was completely operated in end of 1984. Compound ability of plant is 2400 megawatts, its production has reached 11010 million kilowatt per hour in 1998.

Al-Zour South Plant

Huge turbines for generating in Mina Al-Zour were installed for facing pace and increasing demand of electricity power. So, the Government has established a new plant in South Al-Zour. The new plant is consisting of eight generators, capacity of each is 300 megawatts, in addition to gas turbines plant, in capacity of 111 megawatts to make the total compound power for the plant is 2511 megawatts and its production is 101212 million kilowatts in 1998.

It is clear that the compound electricity power working for the plants in 1998, has reached 7498 megawatts considering that the maximum electricity load has reached 5800 megawatts in 1998.

The Government tries to do its best efforts to use the most recent technologies and equipments which cope with the prevailed local circumstances to give the best economic results and it was clear increasing of the production units of 7.5 megawatts, to 10 megawatts, to 134s megawatts, to 150 megawatts and to 300 megawatts getting benefit of economics of size which are distinguished the mega units and leads to reduce operation and maintenance costs and give production efficiency having a positive impact on production cost.

Third: Electric Networks

Today, Kuwait is covered by wide electrical networks, some of which are air lines and the others of cables buried underground in addition to main and secondary switch plants and secondary distribution centers to secure conducting the electrical current for each consumer.

The electrical networks of different pressures work vital and significant roles through covering the different extensions of the State. Also, they are transferring electricity power produced by power generation plants in huge quantities to the main feeding centers and then switch centers which will distribute the proper quantities to reach for the consumers in the main residential, commercial, industrial and the other sectors.

In 1934, electrical networks began in Kuwait using air line of copper wires placed on wooden columns, pressure of 200 volts, continuous current. In 1949, network pressure was altered to be 380/220 volts, frequent current and frequency of 40 hertz due to increase of generators’ ability and extension of the geographical batch for service of Electricity National Company.

After ownership of the Company had been transferred for Kuwait government and establishing the first generation plant in Shuweikh Area, Electricity General Department, deliberately, raised electrical network pressure of 380 volts to be 11000 volts and extended its geographical area to cover the increasing number of the consumers. The secondary switch plant is established in power of 11 K.V/ 415 volts using the earth cables and air lines of 11 K.V. to feed. However, quickly, the network 11 K.V. has reached its technical extend for transferring the energy for the distant places. So, in 1958, the second generation plant has been operated in Shuweikh area in addition to transferring network in pressure of 33 K.V., which includes earth cables and air lines as well as switch plant 33/11 K.V. in the City and Salmyia Area. After establishing the third generation plant in 61-1962, transport network 33 K.V. is extended and additional switch plants 33/11 K.V. have been opened in the City, Hawally Area and Al-Jahra.

In 1964, the work was under execution for establishing Shuaiba North Plant, so there was a need for lifting transport network to be 132 K.V. So, the Ministry has established the first transferring line in pressure of 132 K.V. of Kuwait City to Shuaiba. Also, the main transferring plant of the fifth ring way in pressure of 132/33 K.V. was established for transferring electricity power to Al-Shuaiba Area and Fahaheel up to complete execution of Al-Shuaiba Generation Plant.

Extension works of transferring network 132 K.V. continues and is strengthened after completing Al-Shuaiba North Plant (1965-1969), Al-Shuaiba South Plant (1970-1974) and finally Al-Doha East Plant (1977-1981). The electricity has become transferring in huge amounts through transporting network K.V. 132 to the main switch plants 132/33 K.V., 132/11 K.V. which is held in feeding centers in the different Kuwaiti areas on wide basis and the network extension was reduced to be K.V. 32.

With continuous of electrical load and parallel increase in abilities of generation plant’s capacity, transport network has reached 132 K.V. in limits of its economical and technical capacity to transport the excessive. So, it is decided to establish new transport network in pressure of 300 K.V. to work in the same time of operating the new generation plant (Al-Doha West Plant). This network connects the power plants to extend its with the main switch plants K.V which will form the main feeding centers in the different areas. Up to the present date, the main skeleton of the network K.V. 300 has been established and operated.  

Fourth: Electricity Load

The maximum electricity load raises quickly, where increase in electricity load is about 32% per annum in the fifties, 26% in sixties, 15% in seventies and 8% in eighties. Within the last ten years, the electricity load is going to be reduced in conformity with the international measurements. However, it is considered higher, about 8-10% whereas some industrial countries, the electricity load is still more than 2-3% per annum. In some countries is less than the said percentage.

Of course, raising of electricity consumption and load is a direct reflection for climate conditions, economical and constructional development in the State whether in private and public sectors. Also, raising of the individual consumption for electricity power reflects and indicates explicitly for existing of some excessive usage and consumption encouraged by the lower level prices for selling electricity.


The huge progress achieved by Kuwait in saving water for satisfying is line with achievements for satisfying the increasing demand of electricity, which is one of the main advancement features and contributes in providing the oil wealth and continuous efforts for enhancing living level for the citizens. However, the recognized achievements interpret efforts and money spent and provided by the State for developing this vital utility. The table shows the daily consumption of the daily potable water (one million emperor gallons) and total consumption with the period from 1975-1998.

First: Old Water Resources in Kuwait

In the past, for satisfying its needs of water, Kuwait was depending on water of parallel wells in several areas of Kuwait. These wells were the main and first sources for water which was brought by ships and boats of Shaat Al-Arab.

In 1905, the first well was discovered and it was containing a relatively big stock of potable water in Hawalli. In 1925, a ship seaman sailed to Shaat Al-Arab to bring potable water in barrels and there barrels were poured in small tanker near Al-Shuweikh port. Transporting water on boats, such method, continued to be used followed by using water tankers instead of the barrels and boats and ships had become water carriers.

In 1939, for managing the fleet, which consisted of boats and ships for transporting water of Shaat Al-Arab and three dams had been built on Gulf Shore for gathering water brought and storing by the ships in rate of 8500 gallons on daily basis. In 1946, the first oil carrier had been shipped to save the sufficient money for Kuwait to be invested in the modern industrial sources for securing needs of the citizens for water.

In beginning of fifties, specifically in 1951, Kuwait Oil Company had established small unit for distilling seawater in Mina Al-Ahmadi of productivity amounted 80,000 Gallons of potable water on daily basis and it is enhanced continuously for satisfying demand. Work was beginning using the flooded tube, a traditional ways for evaporating seawater and pumping produced water for tankers. However, this method is so expensive and little production. So, a foreign company developed a new method for distilling seawater depending on evaporating and flaming.  Kuwait was first country adopt this method.        

Second: Water Plants in Kuwait

Al-Shuweikh Plant

Task to provide the potable water is one of the important matters and has priority in its interests. So, the first distillation plant was operated to use the flooded tubes in 1953. In the same year, the first plant for distillation was operated in Shuweikh, in productivity capacity of one million gallons on daily basis. This production center for potable water was continue in Shuweikh to be developed, extended and enhanced until ten distillation units in Shuweikh working to make its compound capacity is 32 million gallon on daily basis. However, compound capacity has reduced in 1988 to be 28 million gallon due to placing three distillation units (the compound capacity is 4 million emperor gallons) out of the actual service due to less efficiency or lack of economic feasibility for repairing and rerunning.

Al-Shuaiba North Plant

Due to increasing demand of potable water and electricity, it is a necessary to develop new production centers. In 1965, Al-Shuaiba North Plant began its production of distilled water. This plant consisted of seven distillation units, their compound capacity is 14 million emperor gallons on daily basis. However, their compound capacity has reduced in 1988 to be 9 million emperor gallons due to placing three distillation units (the compound capacity is 5 million emperor gallons) out of the actual service due to less efficiency or lack of economic feasibility for repairing and rerunning.

Al-Shuaiba South Plant

The first distillation unit in Al-Shuaiba South Plant was operated in 1971, in compound capacity of five million gallons on daily basis. This plant included six distillation units; their compound capacity is 30 million emperor gallons on daily basis.

Al-Doha East Plant

In 1978, three distillation units have been operated in Al-Doha East Plant. Now, these units are seven distillation units in capacity of 42 million emperor gallons on daily basis.

Al-Doha West Plant

In 1983, three distillation units have been operated in Al-Doha West Plant. Now, these units are 16 distillation units in capacity of 6 million emperor gallons on daily basis and total compound capacity of 110,4 million emperor gallons on daily basis.

Al-Zour South Plant

In 1988, five distillation units have begun to be operated in Al-Zour South Plant and three units in 1989 were added, capacity of each (6) million emperor gallons on daily basis.

Third: Development of Water Consumption

It is clear that the compound capacity for the working distillation units is 258 million emperor gallons on daily basis in the normal temperature for operation status. However, it may be raised to reach 282 million emperor gallons on daily basis in higher temperature in operation status while the maximum consumption has been registered in 1998 to be 256.2 million gallons on daily basis. Total potable water production has reached of 1773 million gallons per annum in end of fifties to be 78367 in 1998. Also, share of each person of potable water has raised of 4604 gallons per annum in 1959 to be 21589 gallons in 1988 and to be 39884 gallons in 1997, which reflects the great development occurred in State of Kuwait in career of producing potable water.

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