Saudi electricity generator SEC on 10 September announced it has fired up the first gas turbine and generator unit at its 1.65GW PP14 power plant at Dhurma 73km northwest of Riyadh. SEC awarded China’s Sepco-3 the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the plant in 2015. When fully operational, the plant will incorporate six GE gas turbines, two steam turbines and eight generators.

The start-up of the first PP14 unit comes after SEC reported that Saudi peak electricity demand has plateaued at around 62GW since 2015, which the mainly state-owned utility attributes to “consumption rationalization” as a result of increased electricity tariffs. New capacity is enabling SEC to shut down older, less efficient power plants. While lower sales are reducing SEC’s profits, the company said in its recent first half earnings call that the peak load plateau “continues to reduce the burden of capital expenditure” on the company (MEES, 9 August). (CONTINUED - 149 WORDS)