ABB to provide FACTS solution for Haramain rail project in Saudi Arabia

4 October 2012 (Last Updated October 4th, 2012 18:30)

Swiss power and automation firm ABB has secured a $115m contract from Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to provide a flexible alternating current transmission system (FACTS) to improve the reliability of the power supply to railway interconnections.

Swiss power and automation firm ABB has secured a $115m contract from Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to provide a flexible alternating current transmission system (FACTS) to improve the reliability of the power supply to railway interconnections.

The company will design, supply, install and commission two identical static var compensators (SVCs) at the Haramain High-SpeedRailway's

The installations, scheduled to be completed by 2015, are expected to support the large-scale railway interconnection between the two cities.

The head of ABB's Power Systems division Brice Koch said that the solution will help strengthen the transmission grid and improve the reliability of the power supply to important rail links being developed in Saudi Arabia.

"SVCs are part of ABB's family of FACTS technologies, which help enhance the capacity and flexibility of power transmission systems and also contribute to the development of smarter grids," Koch said.

"The installations, scheduled to be completed by 2015, are expected to support the large-scale railway interconnection between the two cities."

ABB won an $85m order from AlFanar Construction in June 2011 to supply 380kV of indoor gas-insulated switchgears (GIS) for six substations that will power the Haramain rail line.

The substations will supply electricity to the high-speed (360km/h) electric trains, which are expected carry three million passengers a year.

The HHR project is a 450km high-speed railway line that will link the Saudi holy cities of Mecca and Medina to Jeddah, and is expected to start operating by early 2014.

The line will pass through King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, Jeddah and King Abdulaziz International Airport and is expected to reduce traffic on the roads as well as lessen travel time between Medina and Mecca from six hours to two.