By Andy Sambidge
ABB secures deals to execute substation projects for state-owned power operator
Swiss-based power group ABB has won orders worth around $170m to execute substation projects for the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), the country's national power transmission and distribution operator.
ABB will design, supply, install and commission a substation to help meet the increased demand for electricity in and round the central pilgrimage area of Makkah.
The orders were booked in the third quarter, the company said in a statement.
The substation, which deploys ABB's gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) technology, will be housed in a multi-storied building located in a populous and congested area.
Based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, the Saudi population is set to increase from around 28 million at present to approximately 37 million by 2020, with nearly 85 percent living in urban areas.
Saudi Arabia has among the highest residential electricity consumption in the world with growing household, industrial and commercial demand driven by economic development.
The country is executing an ambitious Ninth Development Plan (2010-2014) aimed at raising its installed power generation capacity by more than 20 gigawatts (GW) to reach around 72GW by 2014.
"These substations will help strengthen the grid infrastructure and enhance power capacity to address the growing electricity demand in the country," said Brice Koch, head of ABB's Power Systems division.
"They will also help to improve reliability and quality of power supplies while ensuring energy efficiency."
ABB will also build four other transmission and distribution GIS substations in the western and southern regions of the country.
The turnkey projects are scheduled for completion by 2014 and include delivery of products such as high- and medium-voltage switchgear, transformers, auxiliary systems and cables.
The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.