General Electric to supply turbine units for Egypt’s firsts nuclear plant

General Electric Co. has won a $700 million contract to supply turbine and generator units for Egypt’s first nuclear power project, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

GE will supply four turbine units for the country’s planned 4,800 megawatt El Dabaa nuclear facility, it added. The company will deliver one turbine each year from 2023 until 2026, and the units will begin operating at the rate of one per year from 2026 until 2029, Michael Keroulle, chief commercial officer for GE’s Steam Power business, it told Bloomberg in a phone interview.

The contract was awarded by AAEM, a joint venture between GE and Russia-based Atomenergomash that will design and supply the turbine system for the reactor, GE told Bloomberg in an emailed response to questions.

Egypt, with an expanding population of more than 95 million and vast energy needs, wants to diversify its energy sources. In addition to building a nuclear plant, the country has said it wants to boost capacity to generate solar and wind power. The North African nation, which currently relies on oil and natural gas for more than 90 percent of its power, targets producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2022.

“Egypt has tremendous energy needs, and growth comes with higher energy consumption,” Keroulle said. “It’s starting projects in coal, nuclear and renewable energy, in addition to the existing gas and fuel projects, which adds security, sustainability and predictability in its energy sources.”

Russia and Egypt signed an agreement in 2017 deal to build the El Dabaa plant. Russia’s government-run Rosatom Corp. is expected to build four reactors of 1,200 megawatts each and supply nuclear fuel throughout the plant’s operational life. Atomenergomash is a unit of Rosatom. El Dabaa will help generate enough electricity for 4 million homes, GE said.

The turbine unit contract is Boston-based GE’s biggest in the Middle East and North Africa and Turkey so far this year, Ahmed Ramadan, president and chief executive officer of GE North East Africa said in a phone interview to Bloomberg.

Electricity demand in Egypt has increased rapidly as a result of their growing population and increasing industrial activity. It’s estimated that an additional 1.5GW of new capacity will be needed each year – that’s a 6 percent increase year over year until 2022. To support this increasing demand without blackouts, Egypt has an ambitious energy plan which includes diversifying its installed base. El Dabaa nuclear power plant will help deliver on that plan by stabilizing the Egyptian grid with dependable, CO2 free energy and having a predictable low cost of electricity. Once in operation, El Dabaa will produce 4.8GW – enough to power up more than 4 million homes in Egypt.

The El Dabaa project builds on GE Power’s supporting the development of Egypt’s energy sector for more than 40 years which includes delivering up to 16 GW to the Egyptian grid. Recently, GE Power completed building and connecting the Badr substation in Egypt to the national grid. The new 500/220 kilovolt (kV) Gas-Insulated Substation will dispatch 1.5 GW of electricity and play a strategic role in the upcoming Egypt – Saudi Arabia Interconnection, linking the national grids of both countries with a 1,300-kilometre transmission line.

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