Independent Power Plant in Jordan

Accommodating Changing Power Needs
When this Independent Power Plant was first envisioned, the plant was expected to cover Jordan’s sharp daily peaks in electricity demand. With 38 engines, 22 were expected to run at about 60% capacity factors, while the other 16 were projected to operate at 40% capacity factors. Oil prices were very high when the project was awarded, so LNG was expected to be the primary fuel used by the plant.

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POWER, a Business and Technology for the Global Generation Industry monthly print and online magazine of September 2015 published an article on a new power plant type in Jordan.  

We reproduce here an excerpt of the introduction of the article that can be accessed at  POWER online . 

Independent Power Plant (IPP) in Amman, Jordan

Owner/operator: Amman Asia Electric Power Co.

For many people, when the topic of peaking power plants arises, gas turbines come to mind.  But as this world record–holding plant demonstrates, there are several reasons, including fuel flexibility and grid-supporting capabilities, that you may want to consider internal combustion engine technology to capture peaks and more.

By Aaron Larson

Sharing borders with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, and Iraq, Jordan sits in a very precarious part of the world.  To make matters worse, the country’s economy is among the smallest in the Middle East.  Chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit have resulted in a challenging situation for its government, which must rely heavily on foreign assistance.

The country is also handicapped by very limited water supplies and natural resources.  According to The World Bank Group, the average annual rainfall in Jordan is only about 4 inches, with less than 0.1 inch of that received from June 1 through September 30.  Unlike some other nations in the region, Jordan is not flush with oil and must import virtually all of its energy needs.

Further exacerbating the situation, Jordan has had to deal with an influx of refugees escaping civil war in Syria.  In July 2015, the United Nations Refugee Agency estimated that more than 4 million Syrians had fled the country, of which 629,128 were said to be in Jordan, which has a little more than 7 million people of its own.

Instability Requires Flexibility

In 2011, Jordan faced an energy crisis when the Arab Spring—a series of anti-government protests, riots, and armed rebellions—spread across the Middle East, resulting in attacks on Egyptian natural gas pipelines, which cut off the fuel for 80% of Jordan’s power generation.

Those events led the National Electric Power Co. of Jordan (NEPCO) to seek a grid-stabilizing independent power plant (IPP) in an effort to reduce its dependency on Egyptian natural gas.  Fuel flexibility was important.  Having the ability to source liquefied natural gas (LNG) from anywhere in the world or burn fuel oil, if necessary, was seen as a way to help provide the energy security Jordan desired.  Wärtsilä offered what it believed was the best option, but it faced a challenge.  Upma Koul, business development manager for Wärtsilä, explained that a common attitude among decision makers around the globe is that combined cycle gas turbines are the preeminent power plant technology.

“The biggest challenge we face is to change the mindset,” Koul told POWER.  “To break the mindset, we have to show the value of our solution and how the country could benefit from it.”

To do that, Wärtsilä performed a grid study.  The company then demonstrated how its power plant could be integrated into the grid system and how it would allow existing power plants to operate at higher load factors, which would in turn allow them to run at higher efficiencies. When all factors were considered, the results showed that implementing Wärtsilä’s solution would decrease fuel consumption on the grid without affecting the operation and maintenance of the system.

For further reading, see at POWER

 

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