Bhikki Gas Power Plant Achieves Major Milestone with First Fire Test in Just 17 Months

GE and Harbin Electric International Company Limited (HEI) have announced today that they have achieved a major milestone with the first fire of an advanced GE 9HA gas turbine installed at the Bhikki Power Plant – less than 17 months after the turnkey project was first announced.

The turbine can generate up to 385 megawatts (MW) of reliable power that is expected to be distributed for residential and commercial use through the national grid within a few days after first fire.

“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,” stated the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif.

“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. I am also proud to say that the open and transparent procurement process through which the technology was acquired helped us save billions of rupees, while providing affordable power to the country.”

First fire is a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and run on fuel at the site. It follows several months of installation and commissioning works. With Pakistan facing an estimated 5 gigawatt (GW) energy shortfall, the government is moving forward quickly with projects to help meet this power deficit.

Set to be one of the most efficient power plants in the country, upon completion the 1,180 MW Bhikki facility is expected to generate the equivalent power needed to supply approximately 2.5 million Pakistani homes.

“GE has invested almost $2 billion 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,” said Mohamad Ali, President & CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and India. “We are proud to bring this technology to Pakistan, and with this important milestone – achieved in less than 17 months – we are one step closer to ensuring the everyday needs of people and industry are met.”

The HA is GE’s largest and most efficient gas turbine. In June 2016, GE set a world record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant with its HA technology. Today, the technology is being adopted by clients around the world, including those in the UK, USA, Japan, Korea, Germany, France and other countries.

“This is the first GE 9HA unit to be operational not only in Pakistan but also in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and South Asia region,” added Sarim Sheikh, President & CEO of GE Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. “We are especially proud to help Pakistan be the first country in the region to utilize this record-setting technology and remain committed to powering Pakistan and fueling progress by working across various fuel sources, including gas, coal, hydro, wind and others.”

GE entered an agreement to provide two high-efficiency 9HA.01 gas turbines and associated equipment to HEI for the Bhikki Combined Cycle Power Plant in September 2015. HEI is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the facility.

The company has been a committed partner in Pakistan’s development for more than 50 years, providing innovative solutions for energy, transportation and healthcare. Today, more than 25 per cent of the country’s electricity is generated by GE-built technologies, and the company’s operations create employment opportunities for more than 450 people across Pakistan.