Fast Work Brings GE 9HA Gas Turbine at Bhikki Power Plant to First Fire
It was only 17 months ago that the turnkey Bhikki Power Plant project was first announced and yet this week, the first of two giant GE 9HA gas turbines revved to life, fueled by natural gas to achieve its “first fire” milestone.
First fire is a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and run on fuel at the site and it follows several months of installation and commissioning works. It’s usually only a matter of days after first fire that the turbine can begin to generate reliable power that can be distributed for residential and commercial use through the national grid.
Reaching this key milestone so quickly is important, as part of the government’s Vision 2025 commitment is to ensure 90 percent of the population has access to electricity. Currently there is an estimated 5,000 MW energy shortfall.
Once both 9HA gas turbines are fully operational in combined cycle, the 1,180MW Bhikki facility will be able to generate enough power to meet the needs of approximately 2.5 million Pakistani homes.
“First fire of gas turbine 1 is a significant milestone towards the completion of the Bhikki project, a key initiative undertaken by the Government of Punjab to provide reliable, uninterrupted power to citizens,” stated the Hon. Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. “GE’s HA gas turbines have set industry benchmarks in the cost-effective conversion of fuel to electricity, and we are delighted to adopt this leading technology in Pakistan. I am also proud to say that the open and transparent procurement process through which the technology was acquired helped us save billions of rupees, while providing affordable power to the country.”
GE’s HA technology has set a Guinness World Records™ title for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant (achieved 28 April 2016) in Bouchain, France.
“GE has invested almost $2 billion in the development of our HA technology, and our turbine provides a powerful combination of the highest efficiency and superior operational flexibility, leading the industry in total life cycle value,” said Mohamad Ali, President & CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and India. “We are proud to bring this technology to Pakistan, and with this important milestone – achieved in less than 17 months – we are one step closer to ensuring the everyday needs of people and industry are met.”
“This is the first GE 9HA unit to be operational not only in Pakistan but also in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and South Asia region,” added Sarim Sheikh, President & CEO of GE Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. “We are especially proud to help Pakistan be the first country in the region to use this record-breaking technology and remain committed to powering Pakistan and fueling progress by working across various sources of energy, including gas, coal, hydro, wind and others.”
The high efficiency of the gas turbines means the new plant will be able to produce electricity in a manner that reduces fuel consumption, thereby helping to save valuable foreign currency and reduce emissions – two other Vision 2025 priorities.
GE has supported Pakistan’s development for more than fifty years today, working to help government and private sector customers address their challenges, not only in power generation, but also in transportation, aviation, healthcare and oil and gas. Today, GE-built technologies help to generate about 25 percent of Pakistan’s electricity through various sources, including gas, wind and other sources.