Fired Up At Bhikki
By Jack Burke12 April 2017
GE and Harbin Electric International Co. Ltd.(HEI) said they have achieved an important milestone with the first fire and synchronization of the second GE 9HA gas turbine installed at the Bhikki Power Plant in Pakistan.
This accomplishment was achieved less than 18 months after the large turnkey project was first announced. First fire is a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and run on fuel at the site, and synchronization refers to when the unit is first connected to the national grid. The turbine can generate up to 385 MW that is expected to be distributed for residential and commercial use within a few days.
The Bhikki facility will be the country’s first power plant to run on imported supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is projected to generate up to 1180 MW, the equivalent power needed to supply approximately 2.5 million Pakistani homes, once it starts combined cycle operations later this year.
“The speed with which the government of Punjab, HEI and GE’s teams have been setting up the Bhikki Power Plant is to be commended,” said the Honorable Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif. “This is the fastest construction of a gas power plant of its size in Pakistan’s history and was only possible because of the commitment of all involved. The project is a critical component of our strategy to expand access to electricity to over 90% of the country’s population and will benefit millions of Pakistanis.”
The first 9HA unit achieved first fire on Feb. 13, less than 17 months after the project’s announcement.
“We made a commitment to address the country’s energy deficit and are leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of that goal,” said the Honorable Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. “GE’s HA gas turbines have set industry efficiency benchmarks in the conversion of fuel to electricity. I am happy to note that adopting this technology through a transparent procurement process has helped save billions of rupees, while enabling us to generate efficient, reliable power at low lifecycle costs.”
“GE is committed to powering Pakistan, and we are proud to work with our customers there to swiftly meet the increasing demand for power with the world’s most advanced gas turbine technology,” said Mohamad Ali, president & CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa and India. “Our HA technology is expected to help the Bhikki Power Plant become Pakistan’s most efficient combined cycle power plant, and we look forward to following this exciting milestone with full commercial operation later this year.”
The HA is the result of almost US$2 billion in research and development and is GE’s largest and most efficient heavy-duty gas turbine. Pakistan is the first country in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and South Asia region to use this record-setting technology.
“From steam turbines for K-Electric back in the 1960s to advanced F-class gas turbines for the Guddu Power Plant a few years ago, and now, these record-setting 9HA units at the Bhikki Power Plant, GE remains committed to pushing the boundary of possibilities by bringing advanced solutions to the country,” added Sarim Sheikh, president & CEO of GE Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
GE entered an agreement to provide two high-efficiency 9HA.01 gas turbines and associated equipment to HEI for the Bhikki Combined Cycle Power Plant in September 2015. HEI is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the facility.
GE has supported the development of energy, transportation and healthcare infrastructure in Pakistan for more than 50 years. Today, GE-built technologies can generate the equivalent power needed to supply up to 25 percent of the country’s electricity.