“After three-and-a-half years of continuous work, Saudi Electricity Co has successfully operated and linked the first steam unit to the electricity grid with a capacity of 660 MW,” SEC said in a statement.
The announcement comes ahead of schedule as original projections were for operation to be achieved in 2017. A date for commissioning of the entire plant has not been announced.
The $3.12bn project has been in the works since 2012 and SEC said it uses supercritical boilers for the first time in Saudi Arabia.
According to previously released statements, the completed plant is planned to feature four steam units, a transmission unit, a 3.3 km terminal, a desalination unit and seven water storage units. à‚ à‚
Construction is being carried out by EPC contractor Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) with equipment from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) including four sets of 700 MW-class supercritical pressure steam turbines and generators, and supercritical boiler components.
The new capacity aims to address projected growth in power demand in Saudi Arabia’s western region, especially in the cities of Mecca and Medina which expect an influx of pilgrims for Ramadan, which begins in June. à‚ à‚