News | January 9, 2013

ABB To Supply Power Products For Desalination Facility In Saudi Arabia

High voltage gas-insulated switchgear to support growing water demand

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order to design and deliver 420 kilovolt (kV) high voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS) that will facilitate the supply of power to a new desalination facility and support the grid integration of a new 2.5 gigawatts (GW) power generation plant.

These new facilities are being developed by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), the country’s government agency responsible for desalinating sea water and the second largest electric power producer in the country. The order was received from the Al Fanar Group, a leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company.

The desalination plant, which is scheduled to be commissioned in June 2014, is located in Yanbu Industrial City, a major port on the Red Sea in the Al Madinah province of western Saudi Arabia. The plant will have a capacity to produce 550,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water and SWCC operates 27 desalination stations producing more than three million cubic meters a day of potable water.

“These new plants where ABB’s highly reliable GIS equipment is being installed, will help address the country’s increasing need for potable water and also support the growing demand for electricity,” said Giandomenico Rivetti, head of ABB’s High Voltage products business, a part of the company’s Power Products division.

In line with its business philosophy to locate production and service facilities closer to customers, ABB recently announced a $40M investment for the construction of a new manufacturing plant for high-voltage GIS and establish a transformer service workshop in Saudi Arabia.

High-voltage GIS facilitates switching operations and helps protect electrical grids and associated equipment. This requires the capability to handle large amounts of electrical energy at high current and voltage levels, while ensuring grid safety and reliability. As the name implies, all parts in the GIS are enclosed in insulating gas allowing space savings of up to 90 percent compared with conventional air-insulated switchgear technology.

ABB pioneered high-voltage GIS in the mid-1960s and as a market leader, continues to drive technology and innovation, offering a full range product portfolio with voltage levels from 72.5 kilovolts (kV) to 1,200 kV. The compact, low-weight and robust design enable the equipment to be deployed in confined spaces and harsh conditions, enhancing grid reliability and efficiency with minimum maintenance.

About ABB
ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs more than 145,000 people. For more information, visit

Source: ABB Measurement & Analytics