‘Fast’ Power on Wheels to Help Saudi Beat Summer Heat
Camping in the desert is popular this time of year in the Gulf. People enjoy driving out to a nice spot, setting up camp and enjoying the cool weather. When they get tired of one location, they can pack up, move somewhere new, and set up all over again. It’s nearly that easy for the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to move and set up its growing fleet of GE TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbine generators.
These “power plants on wheels” each offer 30MW of portable power that can be set up and ready to deliver electricity to the grid in as little as 11 days. SEC has just ordered six more TM2500+ generators to complement the five it already has, in preparation for this summer’s peak summer electricity demand, particularly in remote areas of the Kingdom.
The generators, which once installed can be turned on in just 10 minutes, will help SEC reduce the number of older diesel fueled generators that it has traditionally used to manage peak demand. The result is that SEC will be adding cleaner energy onto the grid and putting it in the remote locations where it’s needed most.
The six new generators will initially be located at existing power plants in Jizan, in the southwest, and Tabouk, in the northwest; together they will provide enough power to meet the electricity needs of nearly 70,000 Saudi homes.
“Given the peak demands we experience during the summer, especially in the desert terrains, we must increase our capacity quickly and efficiently. By enhancing our fleet with proven technology from GE, we will be prepared for this summer’s power needs and be able to manage the rising demand, even in isolated areas of the grid,” said Ziyad Al Shiha, SEC’s CEO.
Not only are these generators – each of which is transported on two trailers – quick to set up and quick to start, GE’s deployment also has been fast. It will take only about three months from the time SEC made the order to commissioning of the generators. The TM2500+ generators not only provide SEC with efficient and cleaner electricity, but also with flexibility, since they feature a dual-fuel option.
The new order comes shortly after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between GE and SEC to establish a joint venture company that will provide operations and maintenance (O&M) support to SEC’s power plants in the Kingdom. As part of the MoU, GE plans to bring its advanced O&M technologies to the joint venture and to train SEC staff to undertake the O&M services.
GE turbines support power generation at more than 40 SEC sites in the Kingdom and include an installed base of more than 550 GE turbines. This GE technology helps generate more than half of Saudi Arabia’s electricity and supports the production of 180 million liters of water daily, delivered to the country’s most remote locations.