Swiss firm ABB picked to power Saudi water plant

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(Image for illustrative purposes)

(Image for illustrative purposes)

Swiss power group ABB said it has won an order to design and deliver 420 kilovolt (kV) high voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS) for a new desalination facility in Saudi Arabia.

The company will also support the grid integration of a new 2.5 gigawatts (GW) power generation plant being developed by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), the kingdom's government agency responsible for desalinating sea water.

The order comes shortly after ABB announced a $40m investment for the construction of a new manufacturing plant for high-voltage GIS and the establishment of a transformer service workshop in Saudi Arabia.

The order was received from the Al Fanar Group, a leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, ABB said in a statement without giving a value for the order.

The desalination plant, which is scheduled to be commissioned in June 2014, is located in Yanbu Industrial City, a major port on the Red Sea in the Al Madinah province of western Saudi Arabia.

The plant will have a capacity to produce 550,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest producer of desalinated water and SWCC operates 27 desalination stations producing more than three million cubic meters a day of potable water.

"These new plants where ABB's highly reliable GIS equipment is being installed, will help address the country's increasing need for potable water and also support the growing demand for electricity," said Giandomenico Rivetti, head of ABB's High Voltage products business.

High-voltage GIS facilitates switching operations and helps protect electrical grids and associated equipment. This requires the capability to handle large amounts of electrical energy at high current and voltage levels, while ensuring grid safety and reliability.

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