New Qatar research center leads environmental development through smarter use of renewable energy

November 18, 2014
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Texas A&M University at Qatar launched the Smart Grid Center extension in Qatar at an event for local industry and stakeholders on Nov. 12.

The Smart Grid Center extension in Qatar enables making smart grid a reality in Qatar and worldwide. Electric energy is key to every economy and for societal prosperity across the globe. The smart grid effort aims to transform this critical infrastructure using computer-based remote control and automation. The smart grid integrates electricity and information and communication infrastructures to produce electricity more efficiently and reliably, as well as cleanly and safely for the environment. 

The center strives to become a reference point and a key player in the field of smart grid in the community and in the region, working toward ensuring energy security. The center trains engineering students and professionals in electric energy-related concepts and technologies in Qatar and helps with technology transfer in Qatar to benefit the economy. It will help integrate electricity and information and communication infrastructures to produce electricity more efficiently and reliably, as well as cleanly and safely for the environment. The Smart Grid Center is working to solve pressing energy issues while meeting the needs of future generations.

His Excellency Engineer Essa Bin Hilal Al- Kuwari, president of Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA), attended the event at Texas A&M at Qatar Engineering building. The event was also attended by a number of experts, faculty, students and governmental dignitaries. Speaking at the occasion, HE Al- Kuwari said that the establishment of such specialized focused center is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and a step ahead in implementing KAHRAMAA’s vision and strategy.

“The center will work to incorporate all efforts related to the field to build a platform for the smart infrastructure not only in the electricity grids but also for water, telecommunication and transportation as well,” he said.

The center is very much aligned with the part related to performance, technological innovation and environmental sustainability in KAHRAMAA’s mission statement, he added.

Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO at Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “Texas A&M at Qatar is happy to celebrate another milestone with the launch of the Smart Grid Center. As a part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the Smart Grid Center works toward the goal of transforming the electrical grid infrastructure to meet the demands of the 21st century, and the center’s interdisciplinary team will work to make smart grid a reality in Qatar, as well as worldwide. 

“This center is a part of Texas A&M at Qatar’s efforts to meet the pressing challenges of Qatar’s growth and development by providing research, facilities and expertise available nowhere else in the region. We are grateful to our industry partners in Qatar and to our Texas A&M colleagues in College Station, Texas, for their invaluable support.”

Dr. Mohammad Khaleel, executive director of Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), said, “The Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute performs research and technology development in solar energy, energy storage and smart grid. QEERI will work with Texas A&M University at Qatar in close partnership with KAHRAMAA to develop solutions for a smart grid in Qatar by enabling reliable, resilient cost effective, efficient and flexible integration of solar energy with the grid and providing solutions for off-grid farms.”

KAHRAMAA has already joined hands with one of the world’s leading utilities in the smart grid field (Iberdrola, the Spanish utility) as a pilot project to analyze KAHRAMAA’s network and study the opportunity in applying smart grid. During his speech, H.E. Eng. Al- Kuwari thanked the Institution for their efforts and being given the opportunity to chair the steering committee of the center. He vowed full support to the center in achieving its goals and objectives.

The event also featured a detailed presentation on the center by Dr. Haitham Abu-Rub, managing director of the center and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program at Texas A&M at Qatar. Abu-Rub said the smart grid is a way of handling energy independence, global warming and security of supply.

The Smart Grid Center will help facilitating Qatar with the latest technology developments in smart electric power distribution grids, efficient use of electric energy and modernization of the electricity grid; generate new knowledge and develop exemplary engineers and leaders by conducting advanced researches, disseminating results, and organizing conferences and workshops; promote collaboration and creation of multidisciplinary research teams to investigate smart grid problems, and deliver more innovative and effective smart grid solutions; serve the needs of the State of Qatar and the region through broad expertise, training and education. The establishment of this center is in line with KAHRAMAA’s strategy and with QNV 2030 vision. The center will be the nucleus to lead, direct and coordinate the research, development and innovation needed for smart Grid promotion and implementation within the state of Qatar and the GCC region.

About KAHRAMAA The Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation
KAHRAMAA is a state-owned corporation funded fully by the State of Qatar. KAHRAMAA has the privilege of being the sole transmission and distribution system owner and operator for the electricity and water sector in Qatar. KAHRAMAA was established in July 2000 in terms of Law #10 to regulate and maintain the supply of electricity and water to customers. Since its inception, KAHRAMAA has operated as an independent corporation on a commercial basis.

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