Kuwait Starts First Turbines of 2,000-MW Gas Plant

Kuwait put online the first 1,400 MW of its massive 2,000-MW combined cycle gas turbine Sabiya facility in June to mitigate looming power shortages it faces each summer. The plant—Kuwait’s largest power plant and one of the largest in the Gulf region—is now operating six GE 9FA gas turbines; the remaining 600 MW are expected to come online in 2012 (Figure 5).

5. Nation-saving power. Kuwait put online 1,400 MW of its 2,000-MW Sabiya combined cycle gas turbine facility in June to alleviate tight power supplies and to help meet soaring demand the country sees each summer. Courtesy: Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water

The government of Kuwait, which owns the Sabiya facility, last year instituted energy efficiency measures to battle shortages posed by a 2.5% power reserve, including cutting working day hours for public sector employees and installing smart meters in residential areas. Before Sabiya’s units came online this June, the country’s power capacity stood at around 11,200 MW, but power demand was expected to surge about 7% to 10% per year.

The country’s ministry of electricity also has other projects in the pipeline, including the 1.5-GW Al-Zour North independent power and water project. The Sabiya plant was built as part of a $2.65 billion turnkey contract between the government, GE, and Hyundai Heavy Industries. GE is expected to operate and maintain the plant for seven years from the date it enters full combined cycle commercial operation.

—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.