‘Small’ Efficiency Gains Can Deliver Big Results for MENA’s Utilities
By Dr. Abdurrahman Khalidi
Chief Technology Officer, Power Services, GE Power, Middle East & Africa
If an automobile dealership, furniture store or electronics shop tried to lure customers with a sale offering discounts of 1% – 1.5%, it is unlikely buyers would be interested. But at other times, small savings can have a big impact. Think of the impact of a 1.5% reduction in a home mortgage interest rate, or a 1% efficiency improvement for a power plant.
At GE, we understand “the power of 1%”. We know that our customers – whether in power, water, aviation, transportation, oil & gas or even healthcare – are eager to achieve efficiency improvements, even at small single-digit levels.
That’s because over time and across the huge industrial operations they manage, an efficiency gain of 1% here and 1.5% there, will add up. Over the life of an asset, the savings can be hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue or operational cost savings. This not only helps bottom lines but can make the difference between a project getting the go-ahead or being shelved.
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where water and electricity demand is rising fast, capturing these efficiencies is particularly important to enable utilities to cost-effectively deliver the services their communities require. Take, for instance, these examples: across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the value of 1% means savings of $35 million on energy costs per annum in the desalination industry; and 1% improvement across the global gas-fired power plant fleet over 15 years translates into savings of $66 billion in fuel consumption.
At GE, we are committed to powering the planet smartly and know that the best results will come from balancing a mix of fuel sources and creating maximum efficiency through advanced technologies and the power of digital. That’s why we offer some of the most efficient solutions across various fuel sources and the energy value chain.
For example, to demonstrate the power that small percentages can have, GE’s Steam Power Systems’ double reheat technology delivers an additional 1.5 percentage points of efficiency, which can add up to $80 million in value for a 1,000 mega-watt (MW) plant. GE’s Digital Power Plant for Steam can increase efficiency up to 1.5%, the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
Our 9HA gas turbine is the world’s largest and most efficient gas turbine for 50Hz applications, while the 7HA is the largest for 60Hz applications. A 605 MW combined-cycle plant in Bouchain, France that uses GE’s HA gas turbines made headlines and was cited by Guinness for its World Record efficiency of 62.22%.
In the field of wastewater, GE’s efficiency gains can make a big difference to operating costs. The GE LEAPmbr, a membrane bioreactor, offers 30% energy savings and 15% productivity improvements, compared to its predecessor.
GE is a large and diversified organization that well understands the power of small numbers. We see it within our own manufacturing processes, and we’re bringing these efficiency enhancements to our customers globally and here in the Middle East and North Africa.