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Large-scale, fast-track power

How APR Energy helped Libya quickly meet peak demand

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APR Energy, Libya, ANALYSIS

When Libya faced peak summer power shortages, APR Energy was able to quickly supply 450MW of turnkey power across six sites

Libya’s electrical power generation and transmission system was unable to meet the country’s acute and growing demand for electricity. In the spring of 2013, the high heat summer season was quickly approaching with expected peak demand far outstripping the available electrical generation, creating a critical and urgent need for supplemental power solutions.

Libya’s interim government, Ministry of Electricity and Renewables, and the utility, General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL), proactively took the decision to explore fast-track power solutions to generate electricity whilst work on the repair and improvement of its infrastructure continued.

APR Energy stepped in to propose provision of fast-track solutions that met the utility’s key requirement – environmentally sustainable and efficient turbine generation. With APR Energy’s ability to deliver fuel-efficient mobile gas turbines on a fast-track basis, APR signed its largest single contract ever to provide 250MW to GECOL over four sites in key areas of the country.

The collaboration with the Ministry and GECOL strengthened a few months later, when APR Energy was able to step in and provide additional power, filling a gap in supply when, according to APR, other generation vendors failed to execute on their proposed solutions.

GECOL expanded the contract with APR Energy to include an additional 200 megawatts of fuel-efficient diesel power modules over two sites. This expanded contract, totalling 450MW, became one of the largest ever signed in the fast-track power industry and one of the largest of its type with a public utility company.

Challenges
APR Energy overcame a number of challenges in rapidly mobilising and installing 450MW of electrical power generation to Libya across six sites.

Uncertain infrastructure within the country made it challenging to ascertain the true requirements to execute the project. APR Energy conducted an in-depth review of the power infrastructure to understand the generation and transmission capabilities.

A lack of experienced contractors in the country added complexity in finding skilled workers for such a large project.

With the Libya in a state of transition and as a result of many domestic and foreign companies not restarting operations following the revolution, there was a lack of experienced support contractors.

Installation of six sites, including some located in remote areas, required a tremendous amount of equipment to be shipped into the country and distributed across the country.

Two sites were located in the Sahara Desert with no nearby accommodations for workers, and only one road connected the desert sites to the urban sites in Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast, a full day’s drive. Flights between the areas were sometimes cancelled and the airport shut down at one point during the installation.

Extreme climatic conditions, including hot weather and sand storms, made installation of the plants physically challenging for the installation teams.

“We faced a number of challenges with this project, not least was the geographical spread of the sites and the fact that not much was known about the extent or state of the existing power infrastructure,” says Ranjit Singh, managing director EMEA, APR Energy.

“In addition, there was a shortage of experienced support contractors and work had to be carried out in some of the harshest desert conditions in the world.”

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Solution
Despite the number of challenges that had to be overcome to bring 450MW of power generation to Libya, APR Energy was able to use its vast experience to face the challenges head on while executing on the fast-track solutions.

APR Energy and GECOL worked together to evaluate the infrastructure and together outlined an approach to build or to repair critical infrastructure required for the installation of 450MW of generation power at the six sites.

“Delivering this project required a lot of work, but I’m proud to say that alongside GECOL we achieved it in the end,” says Singh.

“We conducted a huge survey to evaluate existing infrastructure and established what work needed to be carried out. We then mobilised our resources in a number of different countries and used all options available to us to get the right equipment and staff to the sites in the most efficient way possible.”

Overall, APR Energy worked closely and extensively with GECOL to develop solutions. After surveying 12 sites altogether, six were selected for installation of the total 450MW.

The solution included 250MW of dual-fuel mobile gas turbines at the initial four sites and APR’s diesel power modules for the additional 200MW at two sites. The power modules were installed using APR Energy’s proprietary modular design for site layouts and installation.

To supplement skilled workers waiting on entry visas, APR Energy quickly addressed the manpower shortfall by cross-utilising APR Energy and third-party contractors to remain on schedule for installation.

Additionally, APR Energy conducted international and local training for more than 80 GECOL staff on maintenance and operations on the dual-fuel turbines and diesel power modules.

Using APR Energy’s regional hubs in Malaysia, Dubai, Panama, and the United States, the company’s logistics team mobilised equipment from 23 countries and routed the equipment through three Libyan seaports and three Libyan airports to ultimately make deliveries to the six disparate sites. In total, equipment was delivered in 37 ocean shipments and 71 flights covering 863,855 kilometres.

To meet the fast-track installation of equipment, initial turbine shipments arrived direct from the manufacturer into Libya via Antonov cargo planes for immediate installation and setup at one of the Tripoli-based sites.

Control rooms complete with IT systems were delivered to each site, as were fuel distribution systems and fuel storage facilities. At the two remote desert sites, APR Energy established camps with living, eating, sleeping, bathing, and laundry facilities to house workers.

Outcome
Despite the number of challenges that had to be overcome to bring 450MW of power generation to Libya, APR Energy was able to use its experience to overcome the challenges and successfully deliver the fast-track power generation solutions.

“Through this project, APR Energy and GECOL were able to help improve Libya’s existing infrastructure and deliver an additional 450MW of power to the country: power which was needed to help fuel the economy,” says Singh.

“Furthermore, we were able to build local capabilities in the areas of operating and maintaining the power generating equipment, thereby helping to ensure the sustainability of the project and the future livelihoods of all those trained as part of it.”

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