GE to equip power plant

SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK - The largest electricity generating plant in the Middle East kingdom of Bahrain will be powered by turbines from General Electric Co., in a deal worth a half-billion dollars to GE Energy.

GE will provide two steam turbines and the plant's generators, all built in Schenectady, and four of its heavy-duty Frame 9FA gas turbines, built in Greenville, S.C., spokeswoman Cynthia Mahoney White said.

The equipment will be installed at the Al Dur Independent Water and Power Project, the largest power plant in Bahrain, which is off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.

GE also signed a 20-year contractual service agreement for the project.

The value of the deal is $500 million.

The Al Dur project will provide 1,250 megawatts of power, which will account for 30 percent of the kingdom's electrical output when they're operating.

The plant will come on line in two phases, with the first turbines in operation by June 2010. It will be at full capacity in 2011.

The two steam turbines already have been built in Schenectady.

Al Dur is described as "one of the most significant energy projects ever undertaken in Bahrain" by Fahmi Bin Ali Aljowder, minister of works and minister in charge of the Electricity & Water Authority. It's needed "to help meet the country's increasing demand for electricity and water from urban and economic development to strong investment activities," he said.

"We are confident that, with its global technology capabilities and strong local presence, GE will support us in meeting the need for responsible, efficient energy for the people of Bahrain," he said.

The plant also will desalinate seawater, producing 58 million gallons a day.

Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Energy's Power & Water business, said the company was seeing a trend worldwide toward the integration of power and water production at a single site.

"Water and energy are inextricably linked," he said. "Energy is needed to generate water and water is needed to produce energy. GE has the scale, diversity and expertise to effectively pursue and manage power and water projects around the world."

GE has announced more than $8 billion in power-generation projects in the Middle East over the past two years. It has more than 1,000 turbines installed throughout the region, generating more than 70 gigawatts of power. That would be more than enough to supply New York state twice over.

This is GE's first large power generation order for Bahrain, the company said.

The kingdom's Electricity & Water Authority plans additional expansion in capacity over the next two decades to meet demand for electricity that is increasing by 7 percent to 10 percent annually.

In December, GE Energy announced its largest contract ever, a $3 billion deal to build 65 turbines for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. The country needs 10,000 megawatts of power to meet its daily needs, and the new turbines will produce 7,000 megawatts.


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