Moving Fast to Add Power in Tunisia
Usually, when a utility-scale power plant is built or expanded, work is measured in years. But for the 256-megawatt expansion at Tunisia’s Bir M’Cherga plant, development was measured in months. Six months to be exact.
In fact, this project – which is celebrating its first full year of operations – is one of the quickest “fast-track” power plant projects in GE’s history … anywhere in the world.
With Tunisia experiencing 8% annual growth in power demand and peak power demand rising by as much as 10% a year, the June 2013 commissioning was urgent to help Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gaz, or STEG), the national provider of electricity in the country, meet customer consumption of electricity as the country entered its hottest summer months.
But the plant not only helped STEG meet its short-term goals. After careful discussion between GE and STEG, the plant was developed to reflect the most cost-effective solution that fit the utility’s long-term economic interests.
The turnkey project included two 9E heavy-duty gas turbines, as well as “balance of plant” equipment and project services, included civil engineering, construction and plant commissioning. The plant, located 45km from Tunis, now has a total capacity of 475MW.
GE has supported Tunisia’s efforts to develop its energy infrastructure for more than 15 years, including serving as the original equipment supplier of two 9E gas turbines for the Bir M’Cherga power plant in 1998. Across Tunisia, there are more than 20 GE turbines at seven plants in Tunisia, representing a total installed capacity of more than 2.1 gigawatts of electricity.
For more on GE efforts to support power generation in Tunisia and across the Middle East and Africa, click here.