DUBAI, UAE, 25 March 2020: Across the Middle East, there is a growing interest in pursuing a more efficient and cleaner energy source, said Khaled Salem, President, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems MENA, adding that over the past 50 years, MHPS has supplied over 300 gas and steam turbines in the region. “Today, we continue to partner with regional leaders to modernise power generation and support local governments in achieving their visions of sustainable economies,” he said. “With Saudi Arabia serving as a cornerstone of our regional activities, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has launched a National Program for the Kingdom that prioritises the development of local talent, and leverages the local supply chain, while expanding its industrial facilities and capabilities in Dammam, serving Saudi Arabia and the region.”
While Saudi Arabia is a key focus for MHPS, Salem emphasised that there is a wealth of opportunity across the entire Middle East, pointing out that governments across the region are actively rolling out energy diversification strategies that will lead to a larger share of energy supply coming from alternative sources, such as solar, wind and nuclear. “Turning to the UAE specifically, as it is one of the world’s leading investors in renewables, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicts that renewable energy will account for 100% of the country’s energy needs within the next 50 years,” he said. “Similarly, as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the country had set a target of generating 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030. In January 2019, Riyadh ramped up its clean energy targets to 27.3 GW by 2024 and 58.7 GW by 2030, superseding the previous 9.5 GW by 2023.” He added that giga projects in the Kingdom, such as NEOM, further illustrate the ambition of the Kingdom to achieve this transformation in the next decade.
Providing an update on the ongoing power projects of MHPS in the region, Salem said that in 2019, the company received an order for the construction of a 1,026.3 MW gas turbine combined-cycle (GTCC) power plant for the emirate of Sharjah in the UAE. “The plant, to be fired by natural gas, will revolve around two M701F gas turbines in a project, underway by the Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) in the coastal suburb of Layyah,” he said. “Plans call for completion and startup of the plant in mid-2021. The project will be the first in Sharjah to be financed as export loan with support from a Japanese export credit agency (ECA).” In Kuwait, Salem said that over the past few years, the company has also successfully undertaken rehabilitation projects for boilers of some of the oldest power stations in the nation, ensuring that over 4 GW of power remain online for an extended lifecycle. “This comes at a time when Kuwait is projecting strong growth in its power demand over the next decade,” he said.
Aside from providing solutions for renewables and renewables integration systems, Salem said, the company offers gas turbines leading in efficiency and reliability, providing an ideal solution for balancing power grids against the intermittency of renewables, while also significantly reducing fuel consumption and the consequent fuel combustion emissions. In addition, Salem said, the company is focusing heavily on hydrogen-combustion turbines. “We envision that hydrogen is going to be a game-changer,” he said. “And we believe in a ‘Hydrogen Society’, a future in which hydrogen, a carbon-free fuel, will make up a significant proportion of the world’s energy mix.”
Salem said that the leadership of MHPS in hydrogen fuel technology can be very successfully deployed in the UAE and Saudi Arabia – countries that are already active in this space. “Both countries have favourable renewable energy environments and can evolve into supply hubs of commercially competitive hydrogen fuel or hydrogen power, therefore continuing to play a crucial role in world energy supply,” he said. “Key advantages of the region in leading the hydrogen economy include ample low-cost solar power, sizable, reasonably priced gas resources and an ideal geographic location.” The company, he said, continues to collaborate with stakeholders in the region to pioneer projects that are going to be pivotal in demonstrating how hydrogen can competitively fulfil expectations.