Alba considers building 1,500MW power plant to support pot-line six project, MEED conference told

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) is considering building a 1,500MW combined cycle power station as part of the pot-line six expansion project, which will raise its capacity to 1.3m tonnes in 2017, the MEED Bahrain Energy Forum was told today. The expansion only requires 900MW of power but Alba is in discussions with Bahrain’s National Oil & Gas Authority (NOGA) about using some of its power capacity to support Bahrain’s national grid. Alba power and utilities director Amin Sultan said that Alba’s power generation capacity at present was 2,200MW in the winter and 1,900MW in summer. The load is now 1,500MW. The $3.5bn project will include new smelting technology and power station. Bechtel has completed a feasibility study into line six. “The project is just waiting the gas allocation and the gas contract signature,” Sultan said. “After that it will take 36 months for completion. The project is at a final stage of planning. We are just waiting for the gas contract signature.” The pot-line six will use Dubai Aluminium’s Dubai’s DX+ technology. Sultan said that NOGA is pressing Alba to co-ordinate its investment in power generation capacity with the Electricity & Water Authority (EWA). Bahrain’s power generation capacity excluding Alba’s captive units is now about 4,000MW, but some power generation units are more than 30 years old. Their energy efficiency is less than 30 per cent. New power generation capacity has energy conversion ratios of close to 50 per cent. Sultan said that a possible plan would involve using Alba’s older and less efficient power generation units to supplement Bahrain’s power supplies at periods of peak demand and replace electricity produced by the even more inefficient Rifaa power station.