Saudi-Made Grid Equipment helps to mitigate Logistics Delays caused by COVID-19
With the COVID-19 pandemic upending global supply chains, the benefits of Saudi-based high-tech manufacturing are greater than ever – including for customers of the GE Grid Solutions Khobar Integration Facility (KIF) in Dammam.
The facility’s shop floor remains full of technicians, each working at a 2.2m-long metal cabinet brimming with wires, relays and other hardware. They are producing protection and control panels that customers need to expand and upgrade substations ahead of peak summer electricity demand.
Wire by wire, sometimes up to 500 in a single cabinet, GE technicians are building these advanced protection and control panels. In addition to cables, electrical buses and terminal blocks, these complex pieces of equipment also include GE’s latest protection and control relays. These relays are the “brains” that enable these cabinets to perform their critical roles inside power substations.
Among the panels the facility produces are feeder protection panels, transformer protection panels, automatic voltage regulator panels, signals SAS I/O module panels, and automation common alarm panels.
As their names suggest, one of the essential roles these cabinets play is to protect crucial substation equipment such as transformers against faults, short circuits and natural events such as a lightning strike. Second, they provide communication and control functions that connect grid operators to substation operations, enabling remote monitoring of equipment and performance, and remote implementation of changes as necessary.
It’s important to protect substations (and their equipment) because they play a central role in the transmission and distribution of electricity, helping step down power from the high voltage used to move electricity from distant power plants to lower-voltage levels used by customers in homes, factories and office buildings.
The KIF plant, which can produce up to 1,400 cabinets a year, is one of several GE manufacturing, monitoring and servicing facilities operating in the Kingdom that support the aims of Saudi Vision 2030 to increase and diversify localized manufacturing.
The global shipping delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces a key benefit of establishing the facility in the Kingdom: GE Grid Solutions is able to offer on-time delivery, while ensuring the highest quality, to its local customers. At the same time, the plant supports the Saudi manufacturing sector through the broader local supply chain ecosystem.
GE’s high-quality protection and control cabinets also contribute to the development of a reliable and robust power transmission infrastructure, which supports the Kingdom’s priorities and economic development goals.
Upcoming shipments of cabinets to international customers also mean that the GE Grid Solutions facility contributes to Saudi Arabia’s exports growth and its diversification, which is a key aim of Vision 2030.