The Arab Spring Leads to Summer

What do rich people spend their money on?

Kuwait is a rich country. Their GDP per capita is $47,982–pretty close to ours, which is $48,386. Nice to have oil in the back yard, or at least natural gas–here in the U.S. we have both!

What’s important to the Kuwaitis? Energy. Not just oil, but energy. They use a lot–whereas in America the average citizen consumes about 310 mbtus annually, in Kuwait it’s 469 mbtus. You can see where some of it goes here.

60% of their energy use is residential. Guess why?

The undersecretary of Planning in the Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water put it another way, after noting that the average annual electricity consumption in Kuwait is 12,000 MW and it will double in seven years. Dr. Mishan Al Otaibi said “More than 70 percent of the country’s power generation is spent on comfort cooling”. He added  “By 2030, the demand will grow to 32,000 MW. Kuwait uses 350,000 barrels of oil per day to generate electricity, and in the next 15 years, this figure will climb to 1 million bpd.”

Dr. Otaibi was announcing for district cooling, not a bad idea. However, if I might suggest something, anybody using oil to generate electricity in a country that gets more sun than anything else might be missing the boat…

At the same conference where Dr. Otaibi was speaking, Fadhel Al Kazemi, CEO of Kazema Global Holding, said HH the Amir of Kuwait has laid great stress on the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumption and decrease electricity demand. The CEO broadsided Kuwait for providing the most subsidized electricity in the Gulf region known for its lavish subsidies. “We produce at 238 fils and sell at 2 fils per KW hour.

Whether it’s through district cooling, solar power or bringing icebergs up from the Antarctic, Kuwait will probably succeed in lowering the energy intensity of their air conditioning.

Two points:

  1. Most of the developing world will be richer than Kuwait is today by 2075. They too will want air conditioning–or its equivalent, depending on their latitude and attitudes. Their energy consumption will tend to want to double–just like Kuwait’s.
  2. Once the developing world is rich enough, they want to lower their energy consumption. Hope for the future and all that…

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