New Partnership Aims to Add Efficiencies to the Region’s Growing Power Infrastructure
While it’s easy to see the electricity that’s all around us, the path it takes to reach us from the power plant is largely invisible. The exception: when you’re on a highway in the desert, and you see the long lines of high-voltage transmission towers disappearing over the horizon like an orderly troop of lumbering giants.
These high-voltage (HV) lines and the rest of the HV infrastructure not only carry electricity, they are helping the region as it moves toward a more efficient energy infrastructure. That’s because HV transmission allows utilities to transmit power over long distances and through tough terrain with minimal electricity losses.
So it’s good news, then, that we’re likely to see more of these giants here in the region.
That’s because power demand is growing rapidly across the region, driven by strong demographic growth and increasing urbanization that the United Nations estimates will see urban dwellers in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) exceed 280 million by 2020, representing more than 65% of the region’s total population.
As a result, installed power capacity is forecast to rise by 7.8% annually over just the next five years. This, in turn, will require a major investment in transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure, including high-voltage power lines, and all the other elements of T&D, such as high-voltage (HV) transformers, circuit breakers, HV breakers and gas-insulated switchgear.
To support this growth in a way that promotes energy-sector efficiencies, while also enhancing the wider social and economic welfare of the region, GE and XD Electric Group, one of China’s largest and most experienced HV equipment manufacturers, have formed a partnership. This alliance combines GE’s grid automation capabilities with XD Electric’s comprehensive portfolio of primary HV equipment.
The industry’s growth also is driven by ongoing modernization of electrical systems in the region as a result of new requirements to integrate renewable energy and distributed power sources into the grid.
The combined portfolios of GE and XD Electric will provide MENA utilities with the T&D solutions necessary to address these trends. At the same time, the partnership will provide energy-intensive industries with the HV solutions necessary to meet the rapid electrification of industrial processes.