Image: Bir M'Cherga simple-cycle power plant
General Electric (NYSE: GE) has announced a new contract to fast track a turnkey simple-cycle power plant in Tunisia, where electricity consumption grows by about 8 percent each year.
GE will supply Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company with two 9E.03 gas turbines and electrical Balance of Plant (eBOP) equipment for the 250-MW Bouchemma power plant, the equivalent power needed to supply more than 1.2 million Tunisian homes. Delivery is anticipated in approximately 7 months, in time for the 2016 summer tourist season.
Guy DeLeonardo, general manager of utility-scale products for gas power systems at GE Power, says the average project in the region takes about a year to complete, but “the power of the GE Store” helps make it possible for fast-tracked project delivery.
“The GE Store is such a major competitive advantage for us, it’s where we’re sharing technology between the businesses,” said DeLeonardo. “We’re working together on this project to deliver a solution that meets the customer’s needs.”
As the contracts were signed, Deleonardo says GE initiated civil work at the site in Tunisia and mobilized a team.
The Bouchemma plant is being developed at a site near Gabes, where 9E gas turbine technology has been installed since the 1990s and existing gas and electric substation connections can accommodate the new turbines and quickly connect to the network.
DeLeonardo says the 9E is the right turbine for the region because it is engineered for reduced installation cost, reduced maintenance cost and utilizes low-cost materials. It also has the ability to burn a wide range of gas and liquid fuels, he says.
The former Alstom-engineered eBOP equipment, involving electrical transformers, the switchyard and associated equipment, represents an additional value for the project, says DeLeonardo, because of its capability to expand the project’s scope and offer a better product to the customer.
GE will provide a two-year contractual services agreement (CSA) as part of the turnkey project, plus an additional 10-year CSA.
For nearly a century, GE has had a presence in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region and currently supplies about two-thirds of the region’s electricity.
“We know the region, we know their needs,” said DeLeonardo.
In Tunisia, GE served as the original supplier for the Bir M’Cherga power plant in 1998 and in 2013 completed a similar turnkey project, what DeLeonardo calls a prerequisite to the Bouchemma project.
Presently, GE has 15 turbines at seven plants in Tunisia, with a total installed capacity of more than 1.8 GW of electricity.