Wind Energy Saudi Arabia: Commissioning of First Wind Turbine

Editor: Susanne Hertenberger

Saudi Aramco recently marked the commissioning of the Kingdom’s first wind energy turbine, providing electricity to its bulk plant facility in Turaif in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Aramco and GE executives and local dignitaries and business leaders pose in front of the first wind energy turbine in Turaif, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Aramco and GE executives and local dignitaries and business leaders pose in front of the first wind energy turbine in Turaif, Saudi Arabia.
(Source: Saudi Aramco)

The project, developed in partnership with GE, marked a new milestone in Saudi Aramco’s plan towards realizing the 9.5 gigawatt (GW) national renewable energy target defined in Saudi Vision 2030.

The commissioning event of the wind energy station was attended by Saudi Aramco Executive Director for Power Systems, Abdulkarim Ghamdi; VP & CEO GE Onshore Wind – Renewables, Anne McEntee; Regional Leader GE Renewables, Ruhan Temeltas; CEO GE Oil & Gas, Saudi Arabia, Zaher Ibrahim and a number of local dignitaries and business leaders.

Wind energy

For several years, Saudi Aramco has invested to develop high potential sites for wind energy in Saudi Arabia. Sites across the Kingdom have significant resource potential, and may generate some of the lowest cost electricity globally. Delivering new energy through renewables reduces the Kingdom’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global climate action outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Domestically, committing the Kingdom to renewable energy is part of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) and Vision 2030. Through NTP, the Kingdom is targeting 3.45 GW of renewable energy by 2020, on the way to 9.5 GW by 2023. The Ministry of Energy is leading the launch of the National Renewable Energy Program which will be phased and systemic in its pursuit of long-term goals where Saudi Aramco is a key stakeholder in this effort.

First wind turbine

Saudi Aramco Executive Director for Power Systems, Abdulkarim Ghamdi said: “The commissioning of the first wind turbine is the start of something new in the Kingdom that Saudi Aramco is driving with our partners. Wind Turbine No. 1 in Turaif will fully meet the electricity needs for the bulk plant and even feed surplus electricity back into the national grid. Wind energy offers potential to provide new energy the Kingdom’s energy mix and enhance power generation efficiency, thus delivering on the core objectives of Vision 2030.”

President & CEO, GE Oil and Gas Saudi Arabia, Zaher Ibrahim said: “We see the installation of this GE wind turbine in Turaif as a great demonstration of the long partnership we have with Saudi Aramco. Today is a significant occasion marking an exciting new era for the Kingdom and one that we are very proud to be part of. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the Kingdom towards the renewables goals of Saudi Vision 2030.”

The Saudi Aramco-GE wind turbine demonstration project will power Saudi Aramco’s facility in Turaif, providing electricity directly to the bulk plant. One wind turbine creates enough power to supply 250 homes, can displace 19,000 barrels of oil equivalent, and generate 2.75 MW, thereby reducing demand for electricity from the national grid. The wind turbine is connected to Turaif Bulk Plant’s electrical distribution system to help it reduce the amount of power purchased from the Saudi Electricity Company and to reduce the diesel currently consumed to supply power at the plant.

The GE 2.75-120 wind turbine has been delivered with a desert protection package specifically designed for the Kingdom’s ‘hot & harsh’ conditions. The tower stands 85 meters high, capturing energy by blades 120 meters in diameter. The turbine’s rotor tips reach 145 meters from the ground. The turbine blades are constructed from lightweight composite materials, resembling large aerodynamic glider wings. The wind turbine project was developed by specialists from Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems, with GE selected to design, supply, and construct the demonstration project.