Gas turbines installed by General Electric at three recently-built power stations across the country have yet to start operations at full capacity, despite launch issues being apparently ‘fixed’ by the company. These issues included delays in deliveries, combustion leaks, and damage to a turbine installed at the Haveli power plant.
All three of these plants were inaugurated in 2017 but are still producing power at levels well below their capacity, says a Reuters report. Data from the Central Power Purchasing Agency, seen by Reuters, showed that Bhikki, Haveli and Balloki plants jointly generated power only half of their maximum capacity in the month of August 2017.
A month later, all three plants showed improved output but still remained well below capacity.
Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, the secretary of the Ministry of Water and Power, told Reuters that because of the under performance of the three plants, a lot of power which would have been added to the grid during the time of peak demand in summer was lost.
In a statement, GE said, “Challenges are common with power plants of this size and complexity during the commissioning and early operations phase.”
Earlier, GE had said that the three plants were expected to deliver enough power to supply the equivalent of 7.3 million Pakistani homes over their 30-plus-year life cycle.
At full capacity, Balloki, Haveli, and Bhikki plants are expected to generate up to 1,223, 1,230, and 1,180 megawatts of power, respectively.
The 9HA-class gas turbines used in these plants are the GE power division’s newest and most prestigious product. The turbine entered the Guinness World Records last year for efficiency, based on the amount of electricity generated from natural gas at the power plant in Bouchain, France, where it was first put into commercial operation in June last year.
However, following problems in the operations of these turbines at the three power plants, Pakistan awarded its most recent power contract to Siemens in September last year. GE was among the companies that participated in bidding.