GE and Harbin Electric International Company (HEI) have started the first fire of an advanced GE 9HA gas turbine, which was installed at the 1.1GW Bhikki power plant in Punjab, Pakistan.
It is the first turbine to be installed at the combined-cycle plant with a capacity to generate 385MW of power.
The first fire, which follows several months of installation and commissioning works, is said to be a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and run on fuel at the site.
Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif said: “First fire of gas turbine 1 is a significant milestone towards the completion of the Bhikki project, a key initiative undertaken by the Government of Punjab to provide reliable, uninterrupted power to citizens.
“GE’s HA gas turbines have set industry benchmarks in the cost-effective conversion of fuel to electricity, and we are delighted to adopt this leading technology in Pakistan.”
Said to be one of the most efficient power plants in the country, the 1,180MW Bhikki facility is expected to contribute to Pakistan’s effort to meet an estimated 5GW energy shortfall.
In 2015, GE won a contract from HEI to provide two 9HA.01 gas turbines and associated equipment for the Bhikki power plant.
Harbin is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the power plant, which is designed to help address power crises in the country.
The project is expected to generate enough power for approximately 2.5 million Pakistani homes. It will also help the country meet its goals under Vision 2025 to provide electricity access to over 90% of the population.
GE Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and India president and CEO Mohamad Ali said: “GE has invested almost $2bn in the development of our HA technology, and our turbine provides a powerful combination of the highest efficiency and superior operational flexibility, leading the industry in total life cycle value.”
GE said that the 9HA is the first such gas turbine to be operational in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and South Asia region.
Image: A GE-built 9HA.01 gas turbine. Photo: courtesy of General Electric.