Iberdrola Ingeniería builds in Egypt the first hybrid gas-concentrating solar power

Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción is building in Kuraymat (Egypt) the first plant in the world to be commissioned using gas and solar power. It is one of the most modern Hybrid Combined Cycle (HCC) power generation plants, commercially designated with the acronym ISCC (Integrated Solar Combined Cycle). At present, a similar cycle is being built in Morocco and another one in Algeria, but the first one to begin operations will be the ISCC Kuraymat. Other projects are recognized, still in the design phase, in Mexico.

Construction began in January 2008 and operations are scheduled to begin in October 2010, with a 30-month construction period, 2 months for integration with the Solar Field and one month of Reliability tests. The Kuraymat ISCC Plant will operate at night as a conventional natural gas CC (Combined Cycle), to which the contribution of the solar power hours will be added during the day, operating as a hybrid combined cycle (HCC) of gas and solar power.

The CC is formed mainly by a 74 MWe (at an AT of 20ºC) General Electric 6FA Gas Turbine and an 80 MWe SIEMENS Steam Turbine. The total design capacity is 150 MWe, (for a 100 MWt solar contribution), where 110 MWe will be generated by gas CC and 40 MWe by the solar contribution, being able to reach a design power performance of around 68%, (around 10 percentage points above the more modern conventional CC).

The cold source comprises a TEI condenser and ESINDUS forced draft cooling towers. The main interchangers will be manufactured by NEM and their main task is to produce steam in several phases; at the HTF (Heat Transfer Fluid) in a first stage, the water is preheated and in a second stage, it is transformed into saturated steam, to go through the HRSG (Heat Recovery Steam Generator) until obtaining steam reheated by the Gas Turbine exhaust gases.

These interchangers are especially complex because of the different phases of the fluids, the variations in temperature (day and night mode), process fluids (oil, water and gases) and the important demands of water/steam required for the HCC. The net power output is estimated at 852 GWh per year, with a yearly contribution of 33 GWh of solar power, this is, a 4% solar contribution margin. This plant represents an alternative for the coexistence of conventional CC power generation plants and renewable energies. During the night, the lack of solar power is replaced by the power generation of a CC.

The Egyptian Government and the New Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), awarded IBERDROLA Ingeniería y Construcción SAU, the EPC (Engineering Procurement and Management) contract for a gas Combined Cycle (CC) and its integration with a Solar Field in the Kuraymat area.

The site is located in Kuraymat, 95 Km south of El Cairo and 2.5 Km East of the river Nile, in a flat area, practically uninhabited in the middle of the desert, with a sun exposure that reaches 2400 kWh/m2/year, in the middle of a strategic area for electric power generation and distribution, with gas pipelines, grid infrastructure (550 kV, 220 kV and 66 kV) and very close to the river Nile

The plant will be able to supply electric power to some 200,000 inhabitants and, additionally, it will set a precedent in Egypt for the exploitation of the many power resources stemming from solar power, and a benchmark Hybrid Combined Cycle (HCC) power plant in the north of Africa.

Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, a 100% owned subsidiary of Iberdrola, is the first engineering company in Spain in the electric power industry and third in the world, in terms of foreign turnover. Currently, it develops projects in 30 countries in Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East, with a staff of over 2,400 persons. Its activity focuses in the nuclear, renewable, electric infrastructures and grids and generation sectors.

The Company, which has become the technological centre of the Iberdrola Group, has a projects portfolio valued at more than Euro 2,500 million at the end of 2009. It has recently been granted the Príncipe Felipe Award for Business Excellence, in the category of Quality and Industrial Innovation, among other reasons, for the high level reached in its environmental, labor risk prevention, strategic planning and quality management systems.

As part of its drive to progressively introduce renewable energies, especially wind power, the European Union has presented the TWENTIES Project, the objective of which is to make significant advances in the development and roll-out of new technologies that facilitate the widespread integration of wind energy into the European electricity system. 

More than 200 wind turbines with a total capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) will be safely connected to the electricity grid using a new method for controlling voltage and frequency at different levels of the electricity system.

The difficulties associated with offshore wind farm plants will be covered from the perspective of security. The French TSO, RTE, will perform a full-size demonstration of the critical control and protection devices needed to roll out an HDVC grid; while the Danish TSO, Energinet.dk, will verify whether it is possible to balance generation losses during extreme weather events by adequately coordinating offshore wind farms with hydroelectric plants, located in this case in Norway.