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Hitachi ABB-led consortium wins Egypt-Saudi Arabia link grid interconnection project
Published in Amwal Al Ghad on 05 - 10 - 2021

A consortium led by Hitachi ABB Power Grids had won a contract for the first ever large-scale HVDC interconnection in the Middle East and North Africa, enabling Saudi Arabia and Egypt to exchange up to 3 gigawatts of electricity.
More is expected to be generated from renewable energy sources in the future.
The contract is worth several hundreds of millions of dollars, awarded from the Saudi Electricity Company and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, Hitachi ABB added in a statement.
The connection will support the flow of power in multiple directions between three terminals and will be the first interconnection allowing the exchange of electric power between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Hitachi ABB will be delivering advanced technologies for the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power link between the countries.
This includes the supply of three HVDC converter stations located at Medina and Tabuk in KSA, and Badr in Egypt. The business will also be providing system studies, design and engineering, transformers, valves, high-voltage equipment, technical advisory, commissioning and service. This will be in collaboration with two consortium partners – Saudi Services for Electro Mechanic Works in KSA and Orascom Construction in Egypt.
The HVDC link will give Egypt access to the interconnected power grids of the Arabian Gulf, and Saudi Arabia access to those of North Africa, whilst strengthening grid resilience and power supply security. Both countries have ambitious carbon-neutrality targets.
Saudi Arabia is working to increase the share of natural gas and renewable energy sources to approximately 50 percent by 2030, and the Arab Republic of Egypt intends to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 42 percent by 2035.
The connection directly contributes to the realisation of these goals. The in-country value of the investment is significant, generating new jobs and knowledge transfer for people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the company added.
"The clean energy transition is one of the most urgent and important challenges of our times and we must innovate and collaborate to accelerate our carbon-neutral future," said Claudio Facchin, chief executive of Hitachi ABB Power Grids.
"We are proud to have the opportunity to work with our esteemed customers and partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Republic of Egypt for this prestigious project. At Hitachi ABB Power Grids, we are enabling interconnections between continents, with unique capability to reliably exchange electric power at scale, across borders and time zones."
In the longer term, the link has the potential to be part of a more broadly interconnected energy system with Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, allowing the exchange of solar power from the south and east with wind and hydro power from the north.
More on the Saudi Arabia – Egypt HVDC interconnection:
The HVDC interconnection will transport up to 3 GW of electricity at 500 kV along 1,350 km using overhead power lines and a subsea cable across the Red Sea. The power will be able to flow in multiple directions between the three terminals – for instance, from Tabuk to Badr, but also simultaneously from Tabuk to Medina. With the state-of-the-art MACHTM control system, the power flow can be controlled and reversed between the stations without interrupting the continuous power flow, providing maximum flexibility, grid resilience and supply security to both countries.
HVDC is a key enabling technology of the sustainable energy transition, and Hitachi ABB Power Grids is continually adding new capacity to meet the growing demand for HVDC solutions globally. For example, Hitachi ABB Power Grids was involved in the go live of the North Sea Link that was put into commercial operation earlier this month. At 720 km, North Sea Link is the longest sub-sea electricity cable in the world connecting Norway and Britain's energy markets enabling the exchange of renewable power between the countries. Hitachi ABB Power Grids pioneered commercial HVDC technology almost 70 years ago and has delivered more than half of all the HVDC projects in the world.
Highlights
1. Medina is Saudi Arabia's fourth largest city and Tabuk is close to the projected new showcase area of Neom. Badr is a high-growth industrial city close to Cairo and the Suez Canal.
2. Carbon-neutrality targets for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are published here.
3. Carbon-neutrality targets for the Arab Republic of Egypt are published here.


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