GE's Distributed Power On-Site Solutions Support Algeria's Escalating Energy Needs

African countries are turning to natural gas-fueled on-site power technologies to cope with their growing domestic energy demands.
Published: Tue 26 Aug 2014

Energy demand in Algeria is growing at an average annual rate of approximately 14%, rising from about 12GW to 24GW by 2017. For this reason, the government is investing heavily in the energy sector in order to boost power generation capacity.

In response to this need for on-site power, General Electric’s Distributed Power business has announced orders for eight trailer-mounted GE TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbine-generators and the first Jenbacher gas engine project in Algeria.

The new orders are the latest in a series of major power generation technology supply agreements announced over the past year between General Electric and Algeria’s energy industry.

First gas engine order for GE in Algeria

General Electric’s 1MW Jenbacher J320 natural gas engine will be supplied to Plastpaper’s industrial plastic goods factory in the city of Oran. Plastpaper is installing the gas engine to ensure the factory has a more reliable supply of electricity and to prevent grid disturbances from affecting the facility’s plastics extrusion production process.

This marks the first Algerian on-site power project with gas engines in the country. The project will showcase how General Electric’s gas engines are a cost-effective alternative to diesel generators for grid support and industrial energy security.

General Electric’s Distributed Power orders are the latest in a series of contracts General Electric has received to help expand Algeria’s domestic power generation capacity. In September 2013, General Electric announced several contracts with Sonelgaz valued at a total of US$2.7 billion for combined-cycle gas power plant equipment and TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbines.

The two companies also announced a joint venture to build a new gas and steam turbine production facility in Algeria that will eventually produce more than 2GW of power generation equipment annually.

Creating faster, more flexible power generating capacity

The projects mark the third order with General Electric’s TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbines for subsidiaries of Algeria’s national electricity and gas company Sonelgaz and the first order for Jenbacher gas engines for an industrial plastic goods factory owned by Plastpaper. Both projects underscore the region’s push to deploy faster, more flexible power generating capacity.

“With best-in-class efficiency and operator flexibility, our TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbines will demonstrate how on-site power technology can help ensure the availability of electricity for municipal and industrial customers throughout Algeria,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president & CEO—GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power. “GE is committed to being the country’s growth partner by supporting the development of the country’s energy infrastructure and supporting local employment and training opportunities.”

Meeting peak power demands

Under the terms of a US$161 million contract, General Electric’s Distributed Power business is helping Algeria address its peak power demands and strengthen local grid reliability by supplying Sonelgaz with a fleet of eight TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbine-generators on an expedited basis.

The eight units are scheduled to begin commercial operation at the beginning of August 2014. The TM2500+ units are being installed in multiple locations near existing electrical substations. They can operate on either gas or liquid fuel and will supply electricity to support peak demands and to increase grid reliability. The contract also includes related services, which General Electric will supply in conjunction with partner Power Projects Limited, the Turkish subsidiary of METKA S.A., a leading international engineering contractor.

Known as General Electric’s “Power Plant on Wheels,” the TM2500+ is derived from jet-engine technology powering the world’s airlines. Engineered for flexibility and quick dispatch, it is ideal for providing a baseload bridge to permanent power installations or for generating additional or backup power in support of periods of high electrical demand, disaster relief, plant shutdowns or equipment maintenance. It is available for 50Hz and 60Hz applications, reaches full power in 10 minutes or less, offers low emissions and has a small footprint for sites where space is limited.

Onsite generation fills a gap

Often, African countries are left without sufficient power whilst waiting for projects to be completed. This can sometimes be up to eight years (and more) for hydroelectric power projects. In order to fill this energy gap, Denham has introduced a floating storage recovery unit which is located close to shore. LNG is used as a temporary solution while countries wait for off-shore gas supplies which is cheaper than heavy fuel oil and diesel. [Engerati-Denham Fills Africa’s Energy Gap.] Karpowership supplies power via their floating power stations which run on oil and gas. These large ships berth alongside the harbor or they moor offshore and transmit power through subsea cables or transmission lines. The power is then fed into the city’s electricity network. [Engerati-Floating Power Ships Fill Africa’s Energy Gaps.]

While we recognize that Africa needs long-term and sustainable power solutions [Engerati-Africa Needs Long-Term Solutions], the continent’s urgent need for power cannot be ignored. Temporary solutions which offer a reliable and cheap source of power are what the continent needs today.