ABB paid $30m to build four substations in Iraq

ABB has won an order worth around $30m from Zagros Energy to build four new transmission and distribution substations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, as part of an overall initiative to expand and strengthen the regional power grid.

The Swiss-Swedish manufacturer and supplier of major power systems has said that demand for reliable power is growing at a rate of 10-25% a year in the region, thanks to industrial growth, construction projects and overall economic development.

Currently, the Kurdistan power grid supplies around 2,750 megawatts (MW) of electricity, with more than 90% of the capacity owned and operated by independent power companies.

The increasing demand for electricity means that outages and blackouts are frequent. In the short term, a capacity expansion to approximately 4,000 MW is planned; longer term, the ambition is to reach 10,000 MW, which would open up the possibility of exporting power to neighboring countries.

ABB’s project scope includes the design and supply of the substations and will enable an additional 600 MW of power to the region. The substations are based on GIS technology, which was selected for its compact footprint, since they are to be located in the center of the city.

Two will be connected with 132 kilovolt (kV) underground cables due to the lack of space for overhead lines. Circuit breakers and air-insulated switchgear, control and protection systems, capacitor banks as well as power transformers and other high-voltage equipment, will form part of the key product supplies. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

“These substations will go a long way towards helping this developing region meet the increasing demand for electricity,” said the head of ABB’s substations business, Oleg Aleinikov. “They will also strengthen the grid, reduce outages and improve the reliability of power supplies to consumers.”

The company said that the order had already been booked in its second quaarter results.